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A genetic tool to manipulate litter size


Ferrari, Manuela; Lindholm, Anna K; König, Barbara (2014). A genetic tool to manipulate litter size. Frontiers in Zoology, 11(1):18.

Abstract

Introduction Experimental litter size manipulations are often not problem free. Typically conducted shortly after birth or oviposition, they do not account for the energy already invested into the production of the offspring. Such effects make it difficult to interpret the results from experimental litter size manipulations and therefore to study optimality of litter or clutch size, a long debated topic in evolutionary biology. Results We propose the use of a mating design based on a selfish genetic element, the t haplotype, to reduce litter size in an eutherian mammal, the house mouse. Most t haplotypes are recessive lethal and therefore lead to the death of all homozygous embryos. Litter sizes can be reduced by up to 50% by pairing a +/t female with a +/t male instead of a +/+ male. Conclusions This method allows litter size manipulation before birth without the use of invasive techniques, therefore providing an excellent tool for studying optimal litter size and ultimately helping to understand life history strategies.

Abstract

Introduction Experimental litter size manipulations are often not problem free. Typically conducted shortly after birth or oviposition, they do not account for the energy already invested into the production of the offspring. Such effects make it difficult to interpret the results from experimental litter size manipulations and therefore to study optimality of litter or clutch size, a long debated topic in evolutionary biology. Results We propose the use of a mating design based on a selfish genetic element, the t haplotype, to reduce litter size in an eutherian mammal, the house mouse. Most t haplotypes are recessive lethal and therefore lead to the death of all homozygous embryos. Litter sizes can be reduced by up to 50% by pairing a +/t female with a +/t male instead of a +/+ male. Conclusions This method allows litter size manipulation before birth without the use of invasive techniques, therefore providing an excellent tool for studying optimal litter size and ultimately helping to understand life history strategies.

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3 citations in Web of Science®
3 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:19 Nov 2014 15:32
Last Modified:03 Aug 2017 16:30
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1742-9994
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/1742-9994-11-18
PubMed ID:24564853

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