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Telomerase as a possible key to bypass the cost of reproduction effect
  • Radmila Capkova Frydrychova
Radmila Capkova Frydrychova
Biology Centre Czech Academy of Sciences

Corresponding Author:radmila.frydrychova@hotmail.com

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Telomerase activity and telomere restoration in certain somatic cells of human adults maintain the proliferative capacity of these cells and contribute to their regenerative potential, and telomerase activity and telomere length are commonly considered lifespan predictors. Eusocial insects provide excellent model systems for aging research based on their extraordinary caste-related lifespan differences that contradict the typical fecundity/lifespan trade-off. In agreement with the common presumption, telomerase activity is upregulated in the reproductive, long-lived individuals of eusocial insects such as queens and kings, proposing that telomerase activity acts as a key factor in their extended longevity. But, as documented by the presence of telomerase in somatic tissues of numerous invertebrate and vertebrate species, the connection between telomerase activity and the predicted lifespan is not clear. Here, I ask whether somatic telomerase activity in eusocial reproductives may serve its non-canonical function to protect its individuals against the exacerbated metabolic stress upon reproduction and be a reflection of a more common phenomenon among species. I propose a hypothesis that the presence of telomerase activity in somatic cells reflects a different reproduction strategy of the species.