Data from: Hybrid crosses and the genetic basis of interspecific divergence in lifespan in Pristionchus nematodes
Weadick, Cameron J.; Sommer, Ralf J. (2016), Data from: Hybrid crosses and the genetic basis of interspecific divergence in lifespan in Pristionchus nematodes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.22s3p
Characterizing the genetic basis of among-species variation in lifespan is a major goal of evolutionary gerontology research, but the very feature that defines separate species—the inability to interbreed—makes achieving this goal impractical, if not impossible, for most taxa. Pristionchus nematodes provide an intriguing system for tackling this problem, as female lifespan varies among species that can be crossed to form viable (though infertile) hybrids. By conducting reciprocal crosses among three species—two dioecious (long-lived P. exspectatus and short-lived P. arcanus) and one androdioecious (short-lived P. pacificus)—we found that female lifespan was long for all hybrids, consistent with the hypothesis that the relatively short lifespans seen for P. pacificus hermaphrodites and P. arcanus females are caused by independent, recessive alleles that are masked in hybrid genomes. Cross direction had a small effect on survivorship for crosses involving P. exspectatus, indicating that nuclear-mitochondrial interactions may also influence Pristionchus longevity. Our findings suggest that long lifespan in P. exspectatus reflects the realization of an ancestral potential for extended longevity in the P. pacificus species complex. This work demonstrates the utility of interspecific hybrids for ageing research and provides a foundation for future work on the genetic architecture of interspecific lifespan variation.