Aging without functional senescence in honey bee workers

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Olav Rueppell, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Senescence can be defined demographically as an age- dependent increase in mortality risk, or functionally as a decline in performance. The relationship between the two phenomena is central for understanding the biological aging process and the implications of human lifespan extension [1 ]. Generally, demographic and functional senescence are believed to be tightly linked [1], because aging involves a performance decline in multiple body functions, leading to increased mortality. The limited existing data support a direct connection between old age, increased mortality rate and decreased behavioral or physiological performance in organisms ranging from flies [2] to humans [3]. A recent study [4], however, suggests that the linkage may be less universal than previously postulated. To investigate this linkage directly in the non-traditional aging model Apis mellifera [5], old honey bee workers were studied with respect to survival and performance. A test battery of behavioral assays showed a significant increase in experimental mortality rate with chronological age, but no evidence for an age-dependent performance decline in locomotion, learning or responsiveness to light or sucrose. The explanation for this decoupling of intrinsic mortality and functional decline may lie in the social evolution of honey bees [6].

Additional Information

Current Biology, 17: R274-R275
Language: English
Date: 2007
Aging, Senescence, Social evolution, Honey bee workers, Social insects

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