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Poster communications

Maternal age influences eggs hormonal content and chicks’ behavioural phenotype in a precocial bird

Abstract : The behavioural phenotype of an individual is not only determined by his genes and his immediate environment but also by epigenetic mechanisms such as maternal effects. These maternal effects can intervene after birth but also before. In birds, this prenatal maternal influence is mediated by the hormonal content of the females’ egg. Indeed, the environment experienced by the laying female can modify the level of steroid hormones in her eggs and, by this way, modify chicks’ characteristics. In our study, we wanted to know if intrinsic characteristics of the female, such as her age, could also influence this hormonal content and thus the behaviour of the chicks. We studied a group a Japanese quail females at two distinct ages: at the beginning of breeding and six months later. For each age, we measured hormonal composition of steroids in eggs’ yolk of the females and studied their chicks in several behavioural tests. We found a decrease in yolk testosterone content with female age and also a different behavioural profile of chicks depending on the female age. Thus we showed, for the first time in birds, a maternal age effect on the hormonal content of eggs and on the behavioural phenotype of chicks.
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Poster communications
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Contributor : Umr6552 Ethos <>
Submitted on : Friday, August 19, 2016 - 3:18:22 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 11:15:20 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01354809, version 1


Floriane Guibert, Cécilia Houdelier, Sophie Lumineau, Kurt Kotrschal, Erich Möstl, et al.. Maternal age influences eggs hormonal content and chicks’ behavioural phenotype in a precocial bird. Behavior 2009 - 31st International Ethological Conference, Aug 2009, Rennes, France. ⟨hal-01354809⟩



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