Artificial selection reveals the energetic expense of producing larger eggs
Frontiers in Zoology
BioMed Central / Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft
© The Author(s). 2016. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
BACKGROUND: The amount of resources provided by the mother before birth has important and long-lasting effects on offspring fitness. Despite this, there is a large amount of variation in maternal investment seen in natural populations. Life-history theory predicts that this variation is maintained through a trade-off between the benefits of high maternal investment for the offspring and the costs of high investment for the mother. However, the proximate mechanisms underlying these costs of reproduction are not well understood. Here we used artificial selection for high and low maternal egg investment in a precocial bird, the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) to quantify costs of maternal reproductive investment. RESULTS: We show that females from the high maternal investment lines had significantly larger reproductive organs, which explained their overall larger body mass, and resulted in a higher resting metabolic rate (RMR). Contrary to our expectations, this increase in metabolic activity did not lead to a higher level of oxidative damage. CONCLUSIONS: This study is the first to provide experimental evidence for metabolic costs of increased per offspring investment.
The study was financially supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (PP00P3 128386 and 458 PP00P3 157455 to BT).
This is the final version of the article. Available from BioMed Central via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 13, article 38
- Biosciences 
Place of publication