Postnatal growth, life span, and probability of reproduction in the adult state depended on the mother’s physical condition during pregnancy and lactation in water vole. The white fat weight in the female abdominal cavity was shown to significantly increase in pregnancy and to decrease in late lactation. As an indicators for nutritional state of females, their body weight difference after parturition (or in late lactation) and expected from the regression equation relating individual body weight at the beginning and the end of each reproductive stage were used (physical condition indexes in pregnancy or lactation). The correlation of the physical condition index in pregnancy with the storage fat weight was 0.67. The metabolic resources of the mother’s body proved to favor faster offspring development. The female offspring weight at the age of 3 and 10 weeks as well as adult ones positively correlated with the mother’s nutritional state in pregnancy, while the male offspring weight demonstrated a similar correlation at the age of 3 and 6 weeks. Increased negative energy balance during lactation proved to decrease the offspring weight in both sexes after separation from mother and at the age of 6 weeks. High nutritional state of mother in pregnancy favored both the probability of reproduction and life span of female offspring. The reproduction of male offspring did not depend on the mother’s physical condition. The life span peaked in male offspring of mothers in a nutritional state below average in pregnancy and above average in lactation. Thus, the physical condition of the mother’s body is an important sex-dependent factor of phenotypic variation in the offspring body weight, reproductive competence, and life span.
Russian Journal of Developmental Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 25, 2011
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