Maternal effects and parent-offspring conflict
Wiley for Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE)
© 2017 The Author(s). Evolution © 2017 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Reason for embargo
Maternal effects can provide offspring with reliable information about the environment they are likely to experience, but also offer scope for maternal manipulation of young when interests diverge between parents and offspring. To predict the impact of parent–offspring conflict, we model the evolution of maternal effects on local adaptation of young. We find that parent–offspring conflict strongly influences the stability of maternal effects; moreover, the nature of the disagreement between parents and young predicts how conflict is resolved: when mothers favor less extreme mixtures of phenotypes relative to offspring (i.e., when mothers stand to gain by hedging their bets), mothers win the conflict by providing offspring with limited amounts of information. When offspring favor overproduction of one and the same phenotype across all environments compared to mothers (e.g., when offspring favor a larger body size), neither side wins the conflict and signaling breaks down. Only when offspring favor less extreme mixtures relative to their mothers (something no current model predicts), offspring win the conflict and obtain full information about the environment. We conclude that a partial or complete breakdown of informative maternal effects will be the norm rather than the exception in the presence of parent–offspring conflict.
B.K. has been funded by an EPSRC 2020 Science fellowship (grant number EP/I017909/1) and a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellowship (ECF 2015-273). R.A.J. was funded by an EPSRC sandpit grant on transgenerational effects, grant number EP/H031928/1 and a Leverhulme Trust Research Grant. This work has made use of the Carson computing cluster at the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter. In addition, the authors acknowledge the use of the UCL Legion High Performance Computing Facility (Legion@UCL) and associated support services in the completion of this work. The Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Lorentz Centre at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands funded a workshop on nongenetic effects that contributed to this article.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Wiley via the DOI in this record.
Published online 28 December 2017