Factors influencing offspring traits in the oviparous multi-clutched lizard, Calotes versicolor (Agamidae).
The determinants of offspring size and number in the tropical oviparous multi-clutched lizard, Calotes versicolor, were examined using both univariate and multivariate (path) analyses. In C. versicolor maternal snout-vent length (SVL) and body condition influence clutch mass and clutch size but have no significant influence on offspring size. The positive effect of maternal SVL and body condition on offspring number is counterbalanced by a negative effect of breeding time on egg mass. In fact, breeding time directly influences the offspring body mass and condition through variation in the egg mass. There is a trade-off between offspring mass and condition with offspring number, and breeding time influences both. Offspring hatched from the eggs of early (May-June) or mid (July-August) breeding periods invariably show lower mass and condition than those hatched from the eggs of late breeding season (September-October). Yet, there is no variation in offspring SVL among early, mid and late clutches. Thus, in C. versicolor offspring SVL is optimized while body mass and condition are not optimized. (+info)
Altered neonatal development and endocrine function in Alligator mississippiensis associated with a contaminated environment.
Reduced reproductive success, altered reproductive tract development, and differences in circulating hormones have been documented in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from Lake Apopka, FL, compared to less contaminated sites, such as the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, FL. Comparative studies among alligators of varying size and age suggest that in ovo contaminant-induced alterations of endocrine function are further modified during postembryonic development and/or through environmental exposure. In the present study, we examined developmental and endocrine-related indices in neonatal (age, <1 mo) alligators from Lake Apopka in comparison to those of a reference population (Lake Woodruff), thereby limiting contaminant exposure to that derived via maternal contribution. We compared several reproductive and developmental parameters, including hatching success, primary sex determination, and somatic indices. Furthermore, we examined circulating testosterone concentrations and aromatase activity in an effort to establish relative gonadal endocrine function shortly after hatching. Finally, we compared phallus size among males and oviduct epithelial cell height (ECH) among females (androgen- and estrogen-dependent tissues, respectively). Significant differences between populations were noted for body size and spleen somatic index. Neonatal alligators from Lake Apopka exhibited higher plasma testosterone, but no differences were detected in gonadal aromatase activity compared to Lake Woodruff. Phallus tip length and cuff diameter were smaller in males from Lake Apopka, whereas no differences were noted in oviduct ECH. Our data establish basic indices of development and endocrine function in neonatal alligators before environmental exposure to contaminants. These results should begin to help separate developmental abnormalities resulting from in ovo exposure, presumably of maternal origin, from physiological alterations induced through environmental exposure to contaminants. (+info)
Changes in the localization of antigen presenting cells and T cells in the utero-vaginal junction after repeated artificial insemination in laying hens.
The goal of our present study was to observe whether the populations of antigen presenting cells (Ia+ cells) and T cell subsets (CD4+ and CD8+ T cells) change in the utero-vaginal junction (UVJ) of Rhode Island Red laying hens that showed dramatic declines in fertility after repeated artificial insemination (AI). Rhode Island Red laying hens were divided into two groups: a virgin group (R-V) and artificial inseminated group (R-AI), which was exposed to weekly AI for a period of 3 mo. Undiluted fresh semen collected from healthy Tosa-Jidori roosters, a native Japanese breed maintained in Kochi Prefecture, was used for AI. The UVJ tissues were processed for frozen sections, and Ia+ cells and CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were identified by immunohistochemistry. The Ia+ cells and CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were observed in the stroma and mucosal epithelium of UVJ in both the R-AI and R-V birds. The frequencies of them in the stroma were significantly higher in R-AI than R-V. The higher frequency of Ia+ cells in the UVJ of R-AI group indicated a greater potential capability for antigen presentation to CD4+ cells. The significant increase in CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in the UVJ of R-AI birds might be the result of a homing process of lymphocytes, which may affect sperm survivability and fertility. (+info)
Honeybee workers use cues other than egg viability for policing.
Worker policing, wherein social insect workers prevent their sisters from reproducing by eating worker-laid eggs, is recognized as a textbook example of kin selection in action. However, the evolutionary basis of policing was recently challenged in a study that suggested that police-workers remove worker-laid eggs not because rearing workers' sons reduces worker fitness, but merely because worker-laid eggs have low viability. Here, we refute Pirk et al.'s conclusions. First, we confirm earlier work that showed equal viability of eggs laid by queens and workers. Second, a statistical analysis of the data of Pirk et al. reveals that their own data do not support the conclusion that worker-laid eggs are policed merely because of their low viability. Third, we present data that unequivocally show that police-workers cannot discriminate between dead and live eggs. Hence, our study seriously weakens the challenge to the kin-selected basis of policing in honeybees. (+info)
Heterotopic transplantation of testes in newly hatched chickens and subsequent production of offspring via intramagnal insemination.
Transplantation of testicular tissue onto the back of immunodeficient nude mice provides a tool to examine testicular development and preserve fertility in mammals. There is no immunodeficient model in birds, but we recently transplanted ovarian tissue between newly hatched chicks from two lines of chickens and produced donor-derived offspring, showing that experimental transplantation is possible in newly hatched chicks. In the present study testicular tissue from newly hatched Barred Plymouth Rock (BPR) chicks was transplanted under the skin of the back, under the skin of the abdomen, or in the abdomen of White Leghorn chicks that had been surgically castrated and immunocompromised. Recipient birds were killed at 10 mo of age. Transplanted tissue was observed in one of five hosts receiving tissue under the skin of the back, two of five hosts receiving tissue under the skin of the abdomen, and three of five chicks with grafts inside the abdominal cavity. In recipients with no regeneration of host testes, testicular transplants grew to the size of normal testes, and histologic analysis showed active spermatogenesis. Subsequent collection of sperm from two successful transplants and surgical insemination of the sperm into the magna of the oviducts of BPR hens resulted in the production of 24 donor-derived chicks. These results demonstrate that the combination of testicular tissue transplantation with intramagnal insemination can produce viable, normal chicks, which could provide a simple approach for the recuperation of live offspring in avian species. (+info)
Paternal indirect genetic effects on offspring viability and the benefits of polyandry.
Although females are expected to maximize their reproductive success with only one or a few matings, the females of many species mate with multiple partners. Experimental studies have found evidence for an increase in egg or embryo viability when females mate polyandrously. These studies have been interpreted in the context of genetic-benefit models that propose that multiple mating increases offspring viability because it allows females to select male genotypes that influence viability directly or because it allows females to avoid genetic incompatibility. However, no studies have examined directly the precise mechanisms by which parents influence embryo viability. Using a morphological marker that enabled us to determine paternity and survival of embryos sired by individual male crickets in both sperm-competitive and -noncompetitive situations, we show that males inducing high embryo viability enhance the viability of embryos sired by inferior males. These results indicate that paternal effects and interacting phenotypes determine embryo viability. They show that a male's reproductive success is modified by the interaction between indirect genetic effects of sperm competitors. Importantly, our findings show that the benefits accruing to offspring of multiply mated females need not be transmitted genetically. (+info)
Corticosterone stimulates hatching of late-term tree lizard embryos.
The regulation of hatching in oviparous animals is important for successful reproduction and survival, but is poorly understood. We unexpectedly found that RU-486, a progesterone and glucocorticoid antagonist, interferes with hatching of viable tree lizard (Urosaurus ornatus) embryos in a dose-dependent manner and hypothesized that embryonic glucocorticoids regulate hatching. To test this hypothesis, we treated eggs with corticosterone (CORT) or vehicle on Day 30 (85%) of incubation, left other eggs untreated, and observed relative hatch order and hatch time. In one study, the CORT egg hatched first in 9 of 11 clutches. In a second study, the CORT egg hatched first in 9 of 12 clutches, before vehicle-treated eggs in 10 of 12 clutches, and before untreated eggs in 7 of 9 clutches. On average, CORT eggs hatched 18.2 h before vehicle-treated eggs and 11.6 h before untreated eggs. Thus, CORT accelerates hatching of near-term embryos and RU-486 appears to block this effect. CORT may mobilize energy substrates that fuel hatching and/or accelerate lung development, and may provide a mechanism by which stressed embryos escape environmental stressors. (+info)
Interleukin 1 in oviductal tissues of viviparous, oviparous, and ovuliparous species of amphibians.
In previous reports, we have shown that interleukin 1 (IL1), a cytokine associated with implantation in mice, is also expressed in reproductive tissues of viviparous squamate reptiles and cartilaginous fishes. In the present study, we investigated the expression of IL1B and its functional membrane receptor type I (IL1R1) in amphibians, a class of vertebrates that is characterized by different reproductive modes, including internal and external fertilization. In particular, we investigated the oviductal tissues of the aplacental viviparous Salamandra lanzai, the oviparous Triturus carnifex, and the ovuliparous Bufo bufo. In immunohistochemistry with anti-human IL1B and IL1R1 polyclonal antibodies we found that in S. lanzai, most cells in the uterine mucosa were immunoreactive for IL1B and IL1R1. In T. carnifex, IL1B and IL1R1 were present in ciliated luminal cells, and there was evidence of IL1B in glandular cells. In B. bufo, the expression of IL1B and IL1R1 was limited to the apical cytoplasm of the ciliated oviductal cells. Western blot analysis showed that a putative mature form of IL1B, similar to that seen in mammals, was present in the oviductal tissues of S. lanzai, whereas different forms, which probably correspond to an inactive pro-IL1B protein, were found in T. carnifex and B. bufo. A band that corresponded to the predicted 80-kDa human IL1R1 was found in S. lanzai and T. carnifex. Although the present study shows that IL1B and IL1R1 expression occurs in all reproductive modes, the differential expression patterns noted between ovuliparity and oviparity and viviparity may reflect the different roles of IL1 in the various reproductive modes. (+info)