Early life of fathers affects offspring fitness in a wild rodent
Van Cann, Joannes; Koskela, Esa; Mappes, Tapio; Mikkonen, Anne-Mari; Mökkönen, Mikael; Watts, Phillip C. (2019). Early life of fathers affects offspring fitness in a wild rodent. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 32 (10), 1141-1151. DOI: 10.1111/jeb.13516
Published inJournal of Evolutionary Biology
© 2019 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.
Intergenerational fitness effects on offspring due to the early life of the parent are well studied from the standpoint of the maternal environment, but intergenerational effects owing to the paternal early life environment are often overlooked. Nonetheless, recent laboratory studies in mammals and ecologically relevant studies in invertebrates predict that paternal effects can have a major impact on the offspring's phenotype. These non‐genetic, environment‐dependent paternal effects provide a mechanism for fathers to transmit environmental information to their offspring, and could allow rapid adaptation. We used the bank vole Myodes glareolus, a wild rodent species with no paternal care, to test the hypothesis that a high population density environment in the early life of fathers can affect traits associated with offspring fitness. We show that the protein content in the diet and/or social environment experienced during the father's early life (prenatal and weaning) influence the phenotype and survival of his offspring and may indicate adaptation to density‐dependent costs. Furthermore, we show that experiencing multiple environmental factors during the paternal early life can lead to a different outcome on the offspring phenotype than stimulated by experience of a single environmental factor, highlighting the need to study developmental experiences in tandem rather than independent of each other. ...
PublisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Dataset(s) related to the publicationhttps://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1288354
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Additional information about fundingSuomen Akatemia
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