Upcoming Poster Talk by Courtney Grula

Entomological Society of America

On-Demand 10-Minute Poster Session

Available Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Click HERE and search for ‘Grula’ to access the session on November 11th



Telomere dynamics during development and overwintering in solitary bees

Adult insects have relatively short lifespans and show declines in performance with age, but the mechanisms that underlie these age-associated declines are not well understood. One mechanism that may be important are telomeres. Telomeres are repetitive sequences of non-coding DNA at chromosomes ends that enhance genome integrity but shorten during cell division and in response to stress and are often predictive of organismal aging. Individuals with longer telomeres and slower telomere erosion often live longer and these effects can already be present during early life. This study aimed to determine the telomere dynamics throughout development, overwintering, and post-emergence, in solitary bees, Osmia lignaria, and Megachile rotundata. Bees from prepupae, pupae, and multiple adult stages were collected, and their DNA was extracted. Relative telomere length was measured using qPCR. Our results show two surprising trends. First, telomere length did not change during the eight months of diapause. Second, telomere length increased in emerging adults. This increase in length was maintained throughout the adult life stage and did not decrease with adult age. These results suggest that telomere dynamics in bees differ from what would be expected from mammalian systems and suggest that insect metamorphosis has specialized life stages for aging dynamics.

Presenting Author: Courtney Grula

Co-Authors: George D. Yocum, Britt Heidinger, Julia H. Bowsher


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