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Fig. 2. | BMC Biology

Fig. 2.

From: Horizons in the evolution of aging

Fig. 2.

The declining force of selection. The strength (‘force’) of selection measures how strongly natural selection acts on changes in survival and/or fecundity. Often, but not always, the force of selection declines with age. If this is the case, then alleles with neutral effects on fitness early in life but with deleterious effects late in life can accumulate in a population, unchecked by selection (mutation accumulation). Similarly, alleles with positive effects on fitness components early in life can be selectively favored even if they have negative effects late in life (antagonistic pleiotropy). The late-life negative effects in the ‘selection shadow’ cannot be effectively eliminated by selection, leading to senescence. While the force acting on survival (solid line) only starts to decrease with age after the onset of reproduction, the strength of selection on fecundity (dashed line) can increase or decrease before the onset of reproduction (for details see references [36, 38])

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