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High Yolk Testosterone Transfer Is Associated with an Increased Female Metabolic Rate


Tschirren, Barbara; Ziegler, Ann-Kathrin; Canale, Cindy I; Okuliarová, Monika; Zeman, Michal; Giraudeau, Mathieu (2016). High Yolk Testosterone Transfer Is Associated with an Increased Female Metabolic Rate. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 89(5):448-452.

Abstract

Yolk androgens of maternal origin are important mediators of prenatal maternal effects. Although in many species short-term benefits of exposure to high yolk androgen concentrations for the offspring have been observed, females differ substantially in the amount of androgens they transfer to their eggs. It suggests that costs for the offspring or the mother constrain the evolution of maternal hormone transfer. However, to date, the nature of these costs remains poorly understood. Unlike most previous work that focused on potential costs for the offspring, we here investigated whether high yolk testosterone transfer is associated with metabolic costs (i.e., a higher metabolic rate) for the mother. We show that Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) females that deposit higher testosterone concentrations into their eggs have a higher resting metabolic rate. Because a higher metabolic rate is often associated with a shorter life span, this relationship may explain the negative association between yolk testosterone transfer and female longevity observed in the wild. Our results suggest that metabolic costs for the mother can balance the short-term benefits of yolk testosterone exposure for the offspring, thereby contributing to the maintenance of variation in maternal yolk hormone transfer in natural populations.

Abstract

Yolk androgens of maternal origin are important mediators of prenatal maternal effects. Although in many species short-term benefits of exposure to high yolk androgen concentrations for the offspring have been observed, females differ substantially in the amount of androgens they transfer to their eggs. It suggests that costs for the offspring or the mother constrain the evolution of maternal hormone transfer. However, to date, the nature of these costs remains poorly understood. Unlike most previous work that focused on potential costs for the offspring, we here investigated whether high yolk testosterone transfer is associated with metabolic costs (i.e., a higher metabolic rate) for the mother. We show that Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) females that deposit higher testosterone concentrations into their eggs have a higher resting metabolic rate. Because a higher metabolic rate is often associated with a shorter life span, this relationship may explain the negative association between yolk testosterone transfer and female longevity observed in the wild. Our results suggest that metabolic costs for the mother can balance the short-term benefits of yolk testosterone exposure for the offspring, thereby contributing to the maintenance of variation in maternal yolk hormone transfer in natural populations.

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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:2016
Deposited On:20 Oct 2016 10:11
Last Modified:20 Oct 2016 10:13
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN:1522-2152
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation, Fonds zur Förderung des akademischen Nachwuchses
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1086/687571

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