The wide variety of genome sizes (measured as C-value) observed across taxa is not related to organismal complexity or number of coding genes. Partial answers to this C-value enigma have been found by establishing associations between C-value and particular phenotypic characteristics. One such controversial association has been recently suggested between genome size and longevity in birds. In order to determine whether genome size is a general predictor of longevity, we have extended the analysis to the Actinoptergyian fish, a widely divergent group in terms of both longevity and genome size. We collected data on genome size, longevity and body mass for species covering fourteen orders of bony fish. Analysis of covariance using order as a cofactor shows a significant effect of genome size on longevity (corrected for body mass), with lifespan increasing as a function of genome size. Analysis of phylogenetically independent contrasts for orders with a large number of species with a well resolved phylogenetic relationship (Acipenseriformes, Cypriniformes, and Salmoniformes) found the same trend of longer lifespan with increases in genome size but the relationship was not significant. Our results consistently show an increase in lifespan for fish with larger genomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-337
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Acipenseriformes
  • Actinoptergyii
  • C-value
  • Fish
  • Genome size
  • Longevity


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