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Potentially adaptive effects of maternal nutrition during gestation on offspring phenotype of a viviparous reptile


Cadby, CD and Jones, SM and Wapstra, E, Potentially adaptive effects of maternal nutrition during gestation on offspring phenotype of a viviparous reptile, Journal of Experimental Biology, 214, (24) pp. 4234-4239. ISSN 0022-0949 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2011 The Company of Biologists Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1242/jeb.057349


Viviparous reptiles have been used as model species for many studies that seek to explain the evolution of viviparity. The vast majority of such studies have focused on the advantage viviparity provides with regards to maternal control of embryonic developmental temperature. However, viviparity may also allow increased control of nutrient transfer, such that mothers adaptively manipulate offspring phenotype through varying maternal nutritional support. Because maternal nutritional transfer is temperature dependent, maternal nutritional strategies may vary between climatically distinct populations. In this study we used an orthogonal experimental design in which mothers and offspring from climatically distinct populations of a viviparous skink (Niveoscincus ocellatus) were allocated randomly to either a protein-rich or a protein-poor diet. Our results suggest that N. ocellatus mothers are able to compensate for sub-optimal nutritional conditions and can adaptively manipulate offspring phenotype to best fit the postnatal nutritional environment. Furthermore, maternal nutritional strategies appear to vary between climatically distinct populations. These results suggest that in viviparous reptiles, matrotrophy provides a means of producing an adaptive offspring phenotype, in addition to maternal control of developmental temperature.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Evolution of developmental systems
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:Cadby, CD (Dr Chloe Bibari)
UTAS Author:Jones, SM (Professor Susan Jones)
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Associate Professor Erik Wapstra)
ID Code:74542
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2011-12-07
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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