Citation: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 79: 6603-6607 1982
Abstract: Crosses between Bristol and Bergerac strains of the self-fertilizing hermaphroditic nematode Caenorhabditis elegans do not show the heterosis effects for life-span that complicate analysis of interstrain crosses with Drosophila or mice. Instead they yield F1 progeny with life-spans similar to those of the parent strains. By analysis of life-span variation among progeny F2 populations from such crosses and by two independent analyses of life-spans among recombinant inbred lines derived from F2 individuals by 18 rounds of self-fertilization, we estimate that the heritability of life-span in C. elegans is between 20% and 50%. Recombinant inbred lines show a range in mean life-spans of 10 days to 31 days compared to life-spans of about 18 days for each of the two parental strains. We conclude that life-span variation in C. elegans has a substantial genetic component and that this organism offers promising opportunities for selective breeding of longer-lived strains and genetic analysis of senescence.