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Maternal Age-Related Depletion of Offspring Genetic Variance in Immune Response to Phytohaemagglutinin in the Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
2015 (English)In: Evolutionary biology, ISSN 0071-3260, E-ISSN 1934-2845, Vol. 42, no 1, 88-98 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Studies examining age-specific patterns in genetic variance have focussed primarily on changes in the genetic variance within cohorts. It remains unclear whether parental age may affect the genetic variance among offspring. To date, such an effect has been reported only in a single study performed in a wild bird population. Here, we provide experimental evidence that the additive genetic variance (V-A) observed among offspring may be related to parental age in a wild passerine-the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). To separate genetic and environmental components of phenotypic variance in nestling body size and immune function we cross-fostered nestlings between pairs of broods born to young and old mothers and used an animal model to estimate V-A. We show that the genetic variance in immune response to phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) and body weight among offspring depends on maternal age. V-A in response to PHA appeared to be lower among nestlings of older mothers. Such a tendency was not observed for tarsus length. We argue that the lower V-A may result either from depletion of additive genetic variation due to selection acting on parents across age classes or from environmental effects confounded with parental age. Thus, our study suggests that parental age may significantly affect estimates of quantitative genetic parameters in the offspring.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 42, no 1, 88-98 p.
Keyword [en]
Heritability, Age, Immunocompetence, Blue tit, Genetic interaction
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-247582DOI: 10.1007/s11692-014-9301-8ISI: 000349336200008OAI: diva2:797061
Available from: 2015-03-22 Created: 2015-03-22 Last updated: 2015-03-22Bibliographically approved

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