Interactive effects of yolk testosterone and carotenoid on prenatal growth and offspring physiology in a precocial bird
Oxford University Press (OUP) for International Society for Behavioral Ecology
Copyright © 2017 International Society of Behavioural Ecology
Conditions experienced by individuals during prenatal development can have long-term effects on their phenotype. Maternally transmitted resources are important mediators of such prenatal effects, but the potential interactive effects among them in shaping offspring phenotype have never been studied. Maternally derived testosterone is known to stimulate growth, but these benefits may be counterbalanced by an increase in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Maternally transmitted carotenoids might have the capacity to scavenge ROS and thereby buffer an increase in oxidative stress caused by prenatal exposure to high testosterone levels. Here, we experimentally tested for such interactive effects between maternal yolk testosterone and carotenoid in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). We found that hatching mass was reduced and reactive oxygen metabolites (ROMs) levels at the end of the period of maximal growth increased in chicks from eggs injected with either testosterone or carotenoid (only a tendency in chicks from testosterone-injected eggs). However, when both egg compounds were manipulated simultaneously, hatching mass and ROM levels were not affected, showing that both carotenoid and testosterone lose their detrimental effects when the ratio between the 2 compounds is balanced. Our study provides the first experimental evidence for interactive effects of 2 maternally derived egg compounds on offspring phenotype and suggests that developmental cues are tightly coadjusted within an egg.
This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (PP00P3_128386 and PP00P3_157455) and the Fonds zur Förderung des akademischen Nachwuchses (FAN).
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from OUP via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 28 (1), pp. 31 - 38