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Evolution. 2012 Nov;66(11):3558-69. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01704.x. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

Complex interactions between paternal and maternal effects: parental experience and age at reproduction affect fecundity and offspring performance in a butterfly.

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Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Département Ecologie et Gestion de la Biodiversité, 57 rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris cedex 5, France.


Parental effects can greatly affect offspring performance and are thus expected to impact population dynamics and evolutionary trajectories. Most studies have focused on maternal effects, whereas fathers are also likely to influence offspring phenotype, for instance when males transfer nutrients to females during mating. Moreover, although the separate effects of maternal age and the environment have been documented as a source of parental effects in many species, their combined effects have not been investigated. In the present study, we analyzed the combined effects of maternal and paternal age at reproduction and a mobility treatment in stressful conditions on offspring performance in the butterfly Pieris brassicae. Both paternal and maternal effects affected progeny traits but always via interactions between age and mobility treatment. Moreover, parental effects shifted from male effects expressed at the larval stage to maternal effects at the adult stage. Indeed, egg survival until adult emergence significantly decreased with father age at mating only for fathers having experienced the mobility treatment, whereas offspring adult life span decreased with increasing mother age at laying only for females that did not experience the mobility treatment. Overall, our results demonstrate that both parents' phenotypes influence offspring performance through nongenetic effects, their relative contribution varying over the course of progeny's life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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