Offspring telomere length in the long lived Alpine swift is negatively related to the age of their biological father and foster mother

Francois Criscuolo, Sandrine Zahn, Pierre Bize

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

A growing body of studies is showing that offspring telomere length (TL) can
be influenced by the age of their parents. Such a relationship might be
explained by variation in TL at conception (gamete effect) and/or by alteration
of early growth conditions in species providing parental care. In a long-lived
bird with bi-parental care, the Alpine swift (Apus melba), we exchanged an
uneven number of 2 to 4-day-old nestlings between pairs as part of a brood
size manipulation. Nestling TL was measured at 50 days after hatching,
which allowed investigating the influence of the age of both their biological
and foster parents on offspring TL, after controlling for the manipulation.
Nestling TL was negatively related to the age of their biological father and
foster mother. Nestling TL did not differ between enlarged and reduced
broods. These findings suggest that offspring from older males were fertilized
by gametes with shorter telomeres, presumably due to a greater cell division
history or a longer accumulation of damage, and that older females may
have provided poorer parental care to their offspring.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20170188
JournalBiology Letters
Volume13
Issue number9
Early online date13 Sep 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017

Keywords

  • telomere
  • bird
  • environmental effect
  • parental age

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