Nutritional environments, particularly those experienced during early life, are hypothesized to affect longevity. A recent cross-taxa meta-analysis found that, depending upon circumstance, average longevity may be increased or decreased by early-life dietary restriction. Unstudied are the effects of diet during development on among-individual variance in longevity. Here, we address this issue using emerging methods for meta-analysis of variance. We found that, in general, standard deviation (s.d.) in longevity is around 8% higher under early-life dietary restriction than a standard diet. The effects became especially profound when dietary insults were experienced prenatally (s.d. increased by 29%) and/or extended into adulthood (s.d. increased by 36.6%). Early-life dietary restriction may generate variance in longevity as a result of increased variance in resource acquisition or allocation, but the mechanisms underlying these largely overlooked patterns clearly warrant elucidation.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3704704.
- Received January 30, 2017.
- Accepted February 20, 2017.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.