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Santostefano, Francesca; Wilson, Alastair J.; Niemelae, Petri T. and Dingemanse, Niels J. (2017): Behavioural mediators of genetic life-history trade-offs: a test of the pace-of-life syndrome hypothesis in field crickets. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, Vol. 284, No. 1864, 20171567

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The pace-of-life syndrome (POLS) hypothesis predicts associations between life history and 'risky' behaviours. Individuals with 'fast' lifestyles should develop faster, reproduce earlier, exhibit more risk-prone behaviours, and die sooner than those with 'slow' lifestyles. While support for POLS has been equivocal to date, studies have relied on individual-level (phenotypic) patterns in which genetic trade-offs may be masked by environmental effects on phenotypes. We estimated genetic correlations between life history (development, lifespan, size) and risky behaviours (exploration, aggression) in a pedigreed population of Mediterranean field crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus). Path analyses showed that behaviours mediated some genetic relationships between life history traits, though not those involved in trade-offs. Thus, while specific predictions of POLS theory were not supported, genetic integration of behaviour and life history was present. This implies a major role for risky behaviours in life history evolution.

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