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Sex-specific effects of inbreeding and early life conditions on the adult oxidative balance

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Inbreeding negatively affects various life-history traits, with inbred individuals typically having lower fitness than outbred individuals (= inbreeding depression). Inbreeding depression is often emphasized under environmental stress, but the underlying mechanisms and potential long-lasting consequences of such inbreedingenvironment interactions remain poorly understood. Here, we hypothesize that inbreedingenvironment interactions that occur early in life have long-term physiological effects, in particular on the adult oxidative balance. We applied a unique experimental design to manipulate early life conditions of inbred and outbred songbirds (Serinus canaria) that allowed us to separate prenatal and postnatal components of early life conditions and their respective importance in inbreedingenvironment interactions. We measured a wide variety of markers of oxidative status in adulthood, resulting in a comprehensive account for oxidative balance. Using a Bayesian approach with Markov chain Monte Carlo, we found clear sex-specific effects and we also found only in females small yet significant long-term effects of inbreedingenvironment interactions on adult oxidative balance. Postnatal components of early life conditions were most persuasively reflected on adult oxidative balance, with inbred females that experienced disadvantageous postnatal conditions upregulating enzymatic antioxidants in adulthood. Our study provides some evidence that adult oxidative balance can reflect inbreedingenvironment interactions early in life, but given the rather small effects that were limited to females, we conclude that oxidative stress might have a limited role as mechanism underlying inbreedingenvironment interactions.
Journal: Current Zoology
ISSN: 1674-5507
Volume: 64
Pages: 631 - 639
Publication year:2018
Keywords:Animal sciences