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Meta-analysis reveals that reproductive strategies are associated with sexual differences in oxidative balance across vertebrates

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Oxidative stress is a key physiological mechanism underlying life-history tradeoffs. Here, I use meta-analytic techniques to test whether sexual differences in oxidative balance are common in vertebrates and to identify which factors are associated with such differences. The dataset included 732 effect size estimates from 100 articles (82 species). Larger unsigned effect size (meaning larger sexual differences in a given marker) occurred in: reptiles and fish; those species that do not provide parental care; and oviparous species. Estimates of signed effect size (positive values meaning higher oxidative stress in males) indicated that females were less resistant to oxidative stress than males in: reptiles while males and females were similar in fish, birds, and mammals; those species that do not provide parental care; and oviparous species. There was no evidence for a significant sexual differentiation in oxidative balance in fish, birds, and mammals. Effect size was not associated with: the number of offspring; whether the experimental animals were reproducing or not; biomarker (oxidative damage, non-enzymatic, or enzymatic antioxidant), the species body mass; the strain (wild vs. domestic); or the study environment (wild vs. captivity). Oxidative stress tended to be higher in females than males across most of the tissues analyzed. Levels of residual heterogeneity were high in all models tested. The findings of this meta-analysis indicate that diversification of reproductive strategies might be associated with sexual differences in oxidative balance. This explorative meta-analysis offers a starting platform for future research to investigate the relationship between sex and oxidative balance further.
Journal: Current Zoology
ISSN: 1674-5507
Volume: 64
Pages: 1 - 11
Publication year:2018
Keywords:Animal sciences