What evidence is there for the existence of individual genes with antagonistic pleiotropic effects?
Classical evolutionary theory predicts the existence of genes with antagonistic effects on longevity and various components of early-life fitness. Quantitative genetic studies have provided convincing evidence that such genes exist. However, antagonistic pleiotropic effects have rarely been attributed to individual loci. We examine several classes of longevity-assurance genes: those involved in regulation of the gonad; the insulin-like growth factor pathway; free-radical scavenging; heat shock proteins and apoptosis. We find initial evidence that antagonistic pleiotropic effects are pervasive in each of these classes of genes and in various model systems--although most studies lack explicit studies of fitness components. This is particularly true of human studies. Very little is known about the early-life fitness effects of longevity loci. Given the possible medical importance of such effects we urge their future study.
Leroi, AM; Bartke, A; De Benedictis, G; Franceschi, C; Gartner, A; Gonos, ES; Fedei, ME; Kivisild, T; Lee, S; Kartaf-Ozer, N; Schumacher, M; Sikora, E; Slagboom, E; Tatar, M; Yashin, AI; Vijg, J; Zwaan, B
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