Research Paper Volume 8, Issue 9 pp 1940—1951
Higher expression of somatic repair genes in long-lived ant queens than workers
- 1 Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biophore, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
- 2 Department of Vector Biology, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Place, Liverpool, L3 5QA, UK
- 3 Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology and Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, 31905 Haifa, Israel
Received: June 23, 2016 Accepted: August 19, 2016 Published: September 6, 2016https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.101027
How to Cite
Understanding why organisms senesce is a fundamental question in biology. One common explanation is that senescence results from an increase in macromolecular damage with age. The tremendous variation in lifespan between genetically identical queen and worker ants, ranging over an order of magnitude, provides a unique system to study how investment into processes of somatic maintenance and macromolecular repair influence lifespan. Here we use RNAseq to compare patterns of expression of genes involved in DNA and protein repair of age-matched queens and workers. There was no difference between queens and workers in 1-day-old individuals, but the level of expression of these genes increased with age and this up-regulation was greater in queens than in workers, resulting in significantly queen-biased expression in 2-month-old individuals in both legs and brains. Overall, these differences are consistent with the hypothesis that higher longevity is associated with increased investment into somatic repair.