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Fluctuating asymmetry, a marker of poor growth quality, is associated with adult male metabolic rate.

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Oyama, Sakura 
Cracknell, James 
Thompson, Nathan 
Gordon, Dan 


OBJECTIVES: Life history theory, a branch of evolutionary theory, predicts the existence of trade-offs in energetic allocation between competing physiological functions. The core metabolic cost of self-maintenance, measured by resting metabolic rate (RMR), represents a large component of human daily energy expenditure. Despite strong selective pressures for energetic frugality and high observed interindividual variation in RMR, the link between RMR and energetic allocation to life-history traits remains understudied in humans. MATERIALS: In a sample of 105 (m = 57, f = 48), we investigated the relationship between adult RMR and investment in growth quality, as measured by fluctuating asymmetry (FA). RESULTS: Measurement of RMR and FA in university rowers revealed a significant positive correlation amongst males (n = 57, r = 0.344, p = 0.005, 1-tailed; standardized 95% CI, 0.090 to 0.598). Convincing evidence for a correlation among females was not found (n = 48, r = 0.142, p = 0.169, 1-tailed, standardized 95% CI, -0.152 to 0.435). DISCUSSION: The data suggest that low-quality asymmetrical growth is associated with later-life metabolic inefficiencies in males. Energetic investment in processes (likely concerning the stress-response) unrelated to growth during childhood may thereby trade-off against adult metabolic efficiency. We suggest that the presence of a relationship between RMR and FA in males but not females may be explained by the additional metabolic strain associated with larger body size and increased male muscularity, which may amplify the inefficiencies arising from low-quality growth.



energetics, fluctuating asymmetry, growth, life history theory, metabolism, Adult, Basal Metabolism, Body Size, Energy Metabolism, Female, Humans, Life History Traits, Male

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Am J Phys Anthropol

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European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (617627, FP/2007‐2013)