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The trade-off between longevity and reproduction: optimal control of aging

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 OPTiAGE project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the OPTiAGE project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "OPTiAGE" about.

accumulation    monkeys    age    evolutionary    labelling    postulates    continuous    quantify    off    organisms    combining    alleles    shorter    varies    dst    modulate    plentiful    examine    proposes    elegans    function    rate    predicted    shaped    longer    thereby    identical    lifespan    trade    depending    environments    limitation    employing    depends    environmental    isotope    nematode    principles    poor    advantage    mathematical    damage    maximize    exposed    nematodes    kinetic    self    line    soma    directed    environment    combination    competitive    optimal    assay    animals    pave    delayed    developmental    extension    nutrient    model    allocation    living    partitioning    dictated    genetically    organismal    longevity    optimality    fitness    genetic    food    experiment    disposable    restriction    theory    genetics    rhesus    maintenance    diverse    resource    ultimately    nutrients    worms    reproduction    conditions    repair    scarce    adapt    unavailable    mutation    inverse    aging   

Project "OPTiAGE" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: BASEL
postcode: 4058

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Switzerland [CH]
 Project website
 Total cost 187˙419 €
 EC max contribution 187˙419 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2016
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-09-01   to  2020-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

The lifespan of genetically identical organisms varies depending on the environment they are exposed to. A well-known example is the extension of lifespan by nutrient restriction, as observed in animals as diverse as nematodes and rhesus monkeys. Why does the lifespan of animals change with environmental conditions? Is there an advantage to living longer when food is poor, and to living shorter when food is plentiful? Evolutionary theory, known as the disposable soma theory (DST), proposes that organisms age due to the accumulation of damage. According to theory, aging can be delayed by continuous damage repair, but such repair requires resources which are then unavailable for other tasks, such as reproduction. The DST therefore postulates a trade-off between longevity and reproduction dictated by the limitation of available resources. The optimal allocation of resources to self-maintenance depends on the environment. In particular, increased allocation to self-maintenance is predicted to maximize fitness when nutrients are scarce. Combining theory and experiment, I will investigate how the optimal allocation of resources to self-maintenance depends on nutrient availability using the nematode C. elegans as a model system. I will quantify the partitioning of resources between self-maintenance and reproduction using isotope labelling and kinetic modelling, and modulate resource allocation using available genetic alleles and directed mutation. Employing a competitive growth assay, I will test if fitness depends on resource allocation by an inverse U-shaped function, as predicted by theory and examine how the optimal resource allocation depends on nutrient availability. I will thereby assess if worms adapt their rate of aging to maximize their fitness in different environments. Ultimately, the proposed combination of mathematical modelling and developmental genetics will pave the way for a new line of research using optimality principles to study organismal development.

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The information about "OPTIAGE" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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