Sex-specific plasticity across generations II: Grandpaternal effects are lineage specific and sex specific.

The Journal of Animal Ecology
Jennifer K HellmannAlison M Bell


Transgenerational plasticity (TGP) occurs when the environment encountered by one generation (F0) alters the phenotypes of one or more future generations (e.g. F1 and F2). Sex selective TGP, via specific lineages or to only male or female descendants, has been underexplored in natural systems, and may be adaptive if it allows past generations to fine-tune the phenotypes of future generations in response to sex-specific life-history strategies. We sought to understand if exposing males to predation risk can influence grandoffspring via sperm in three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus. We specifically tested the hypothesis that grandparental effects are transmitted in a sex-specific way down the male lineage, from paternal grandfathers to F2 males. We reared F1 offspring of unexposed and predator-exposed F0 males under 'control' conditions and used them to generate F2s with control grandfathers, a predator-exposed maternal grandfather (i.e. predator-exposed F0 males to F1 daughters to F2s), a predator-exposed paternal grandfather (i.e. predator-exposed F0 males to F1 sons to F2s) or two predator-exposed grandfathers. We then assayed male and female F2s for a variety of traits related to antipredator defence. We found litt...Continue Reading


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