Lifespan estimation in marine turtles using genomic promoter CpG density

Benjamin Mayne, Anton D. Tucker, Oliver Berry, Simon Jarman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Maximum lifespan for most animal species is difficult to define. This is challenging for wildlife management as it is critical for estimating important aspects of population biology such as mortality rate, population viability, and period of reproductive potential. Recently, it has been shown cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) density is predictive of maximum lifespan in vertebrates. This has made it possible to predict lifespan in long-lived species, which are generally the most intractable. In this study, we use gene promoter CpG density to predict the lifespan of five marine turtle species. Marine turtles are a particularly difficult group for lifespan estimation because of their migratory behaviour, longevity and high juvenile mortality rates, which all restrict individual tracking over their lifespan. Sanger sequencing was used to determine the CpG density in selected promoters. We predicted the lifespans for marine turtle species ranged from 50.4 years (flatback turtle, Natator depressus) to 90.4 years (leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea). These lifespan predictions have broad applications in marine turtle research such as better understanding life cycles and determining population viability.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0236888
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7 July
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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