Transgenerational fitness effects of lifespan extension by dietary restriction in Caenorhabditis elegans

Edward R. Ivimey-Cook, Kris Sales, Hanne Carlsson, Simone Immler, Tracey Chapman, Alexei A. Maklakov

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Dietary restriction (DR) increases lifespan in a broad variety of organisms and improves health in humans. However, long-term transgenerational consequences of dietary interventions are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the effect of DR by temporary fasting (TF) on mortality risk, age-specific reproduction and fitness across three generations of descendants in Caenorhabditis elegans. We show that while TF robustly reduces mortality risk and improves late-life reproduction of the individuals subject to TF (P0), it has a wide range of both positive and negative effects on their descendants (F1–F3). Remarkably, great-grandparental exposure to TF in early life reduces fitness and increases mortality risk of F3 descendants to such an extent that TF no longer promotes a lifespan extension. These findings reveal that transgenerational trade-offs accompany the instant benefits of DR, underscoring the need to consider fitness of future generations in pursuit of healthy ageing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20210701
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1950
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021


  • ageing
  • dietary restriction
  • longevity
  • reproduction
  • senescence

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