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Heritability of nestling growth in cross-fostered European Starlings, Sturnus vulgaris

Smith, Henrik G. LU and Wettermark, K. J (1996) In Genetics 141. p.657-665
Abstract
In altricial birds, growth rates and nestling morphology vary between broods. For natural selection to produce evolutionary change in these variables, there must exist heritable variation. Since nestling traits are not any longer present in parents, traditional offspring-parent regressions cannot estimate heritabilities of these. In this study, a partial cross-fostering experiment was performed, where nestlings of the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) were reciprocally exchanged between nests. The experiment demonstrated a significant heritability of nestling tarsus length and body mass, but not of the growth trajectories followed by individual nestlings. The heritability estimate for tarsus length obtained in the cross-fostering... (More)
In altricial birds, growth rates and nestling morphology vary between broods. For natural selection to produce evolutionary change in these variables, there must exist heritable variation. Since nestling traits are not any longer present in parents, traditional offspring-parent regressions cannot estimate heritabilities of these. In this study, a partial cross-fostering experiment was performed, where nestlings of the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) were reciprocally exchanged between nests. The experiment demonstrated a significant heritability of nestling tarsus length and body mass, but not of the growth trajectories followed by individual nestlings. The heritability estimate for tarsus length obtained in the cross-fostering experiment using full-sib analysis was lower than those obtained by offspring-parent regressions. This is likely due to a genotype-by-environment effect on tarsus length, with nestlings destined to become large but in poor condition having a low probability of appearing as parents. The main reason for the low heritability of growth was probably the large within-brood variation in growth pattern due to the initial size hierarchy of nestlings. Nestlings demonstrated targeted growth, where small-sized nestlings that initially grew slower than their siblings, managed to catch up. (Less)
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Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
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Genetics
volume
141
pages
657 - 665
publisher
Genetics Society of America
ISSN
0016-6731
language
English
LU publication?
yes
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f6cb0c69-6f76-4f40-ada3-bf667b138868
date added to LUP
2017-07-11 09:34:08
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2017-08-14 11:40:54
@article{f6cb0c69-6f76-4f40-ada3-bf667b138868,
  abstract     = {In altricial birds, growth rates and nestling morphology vary between broods. For natural selection to produce evolutionary change in these variables, there must exist heritable variation. Since nestling traits are not any longer present in parents, traditional offspring-parent regressions cannot estimate heritabilities of these. In this study, a partial cross-fostering experiment was performed, where nestlings of the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) were reciprocally exchanged between nests. The experiment demonstrated a significant heritability of nestling tarsus length and body mass, but not of the growth trajectories followed by individual nestlings. The heritability estimate for tarsus length obtained in the cross-fostering experiment using full-sib analysis was lower than those obtained by offspring-parent regressions. This is likely due to a genotype-by-environment effect on tarsus length, with nestlings destined to become large but in poor condition having a low probability of appearing as parents. The main reason for the low heritability of growth was probably the large within-brood variation in growth pattern due to the initial size hierarchy of nestlings. Nestlings demonstrated targeted growth, where small-sized nestlings that initially grew slower than their siblings, managed to catch up.},
  author       = {Smith, Henrik G. and Wettermark, K. J},
  issn         = {0016-6731},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {657--665},
  publisher    = {Genetics Society of America},
  series       = {Genetics},
  title        = {Heritability of nestling growth in cross-fostered European Starlings, Sturnus vulgaris},
  volume       = {141},
  year         = {1996},
}