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Death happy: Adaptive ageing and its evolution by kin selection in organisms with colonial ecology

Galimov, ER; Gems, D; (2021) Death happy: Adaptive ageing and its evolution by kin selection in organisms with colonial ecology. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Standard evolutionary theory, supported by mathematical modelling of outbred, dispersed populations predicts that ageing is not an adaptation. We recently argued that in clonal, viscous populations, programmed organismal death could promote fitness through social benefits and has, in some organisms (e.g. Caenorhabditis elegans), evolved to shorten lifespan. Here we review previous adaptive death theory, including consumer sacrifice, biomass sacrifice, and defensive sacrifice types of altruistic adaptive death. In addition we discuss possible adaptive death in semelparous fish, coevolution of reproductive and adaptive death, and adaptive reproductive senescence in C. elegans. We also describe findings from recent tests for the existence of adaptive death in C. elegans using computer modelling. Such models have provided new insights into how trade-offs between fitness at the individual and colony levels mean that senescent changes can be selected traits. Exploring further the relationship between adaptive death and social interactions, we consider examples where adaptive death results more from action of kin than from self-destructive mechanisms and, to describe this, introduce the term adaptive killing of kin. This article is part of the special issue on ‘Ageing and sociality’.

Type: Article
Title: Death happy: Adaptive ageing and its evolution by kin selection in organisms with colonial ecology
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/journal/rstb
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10119114
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