Chromosome ends hold clues to a bird's longevity | Science News

Be a Champion for Science

Get your subscription to

Science News when you join.


Chromosome ends hold clues to a bird's longevity

Short telomeres tied to higher mortality in Indian Ocean warblers

9:56pm, November 20, 2012

The long and short of a bird’s life may be recorded in the tips of its chromosomes, a new study suggests.

A study of Seychelles warblers living on a small island in the Indian Ocean suggests that the length of telomeres — bits of DNA that cap chromosome ends — can predict a bird’s chance of dying better than its chronological age can. Warblers with shorter telomeres were less likely to survive another year, especially if the truncation happened rapidly, David S. Richardson, a molecular ecologist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and colleagues report online November 20 in Molecular Ecology.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News