Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 7 April 2004
Vol. 2004, Issue 14, p. pe14
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2004.14.pe14]


Does Sex Age You?

Stephen R. Proulx

The author is at the Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA. E-mail: proulx{at}

Key Words: evolution • mathematical modeling • senescence • population dynamics • mating systems • life history

Abstract: The evolution of aging and longevity has typically been considered to be a resolution of the conflicting demands on an organism to grow, reproduce, and survive. When social or environmental factors change the opportunities for reproduction in a way that affects differently aged individuals, there will be an evolutionary response in the schedule of senescence. This means that social dynamics can have an important effect on aging. A recent study by Berec and Boukal has shown that the dynamics of mating and divorce can also affect observed life spans through their effect on population dynamics. If females cannot find and maintain mating pairs for long enough to replace themselves, the population will become extinct. This puts a lower limit on the levels of longevity that will be observed in nature.

Citation: S. R. Proulx, Does Sex Age You? Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2004 (14), pe14 (2004).

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