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Transgenerational effect of maternal deprivation in Japanese Quail


In mammals and birds, a maternal deprivation in early life, which is common in intensive livestock, strongly influences behavioural development of young animals, for short and long terms. Maternal deprivation also seems to affect the development of the next generation in mammals. Because such effects are rarely studied in birds, we analyzed the transgenerational effect of maternal deprivation in Japanese quail. First, we determined the behavioural characteristics of females hatched from eggs laid by mothered females (M females) and non-mothered females (NM) (emotional and social characteristics, cognitive abilities in a spatial task, maternal behaviour). Then, we followed the behavioural development of young brooded by those females (4 chicks per female). We used Mann-Whitney non-parametric tests to compare the two sets of females. M (n=22) and NM (n=22) females presented behavioural differences in adulthood, particularly regarding global activity. Indeed, NM females were less active (number of steps in openfield test: M=78.6±17.9, NM=32.0±8.5, P=0.009). Then, NM females showed a higher social motivation than M females (conspecific approach latency: M=122.6±9.5 s, NM=94.5±12.5 s, P=0.022). Moreover, they showed lower cognitive abilities in a detour test (success rate: M=77.3%, NM=22.7%, P=0.006). Maternal behaviour of M and NM females seemed similar, although chicks brooded by NM females maintained greater distance from their mother at the end of the mothering period. Finally, chicks brooded by M and NM mothers were not different after emancipation. We showed here that an early maternal deprivation has an impact on behavioural characteristics of genetic daughters from these non-mothered females, in spite of few impacts on their maternal behaviour. Our study highlighted for the first time a transgenerational effect of such a deprivation in birds
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hal-01318247 , version 1 (19-05-2016)



Océane Le Bot, Florent Pittet, Sophie Lumineau, Emmanuel de Margerie, Marie-Annick Richard-Yris, et al.. Transgenerational effect of maternal deprivation in Japanese Quail. 46th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology, Jul 2012, Vienne, Austria. Wageningen Academic Publishers, pp.978-90-8686-204-7, Proceedings of the 46th ISAE Congress - Quality of life in designed environments?. ⟨10.3921/978-90-8686-758-5⟩. ⟨hal-01318247⟩
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