Navigation Links
Mice mothers devote energies to offspring when life is threatened
Date:5/28/2008

AMES, Iowa -- An Iowa State University researcher has found that sick female deer mice devote their energy to producing healthier offspring.

Lisa Schwanz, a researcher in the department of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, studied the size of offspring for both infected and healthy mice and found that females that had been infected with a parasite produced larger offspring than healthy females.

This finding was unexpected because most mammals tend to focus on their own survival when they are threatened with sickness or infection.

Schwanz's research findings have been published in New Scientist magazine.

She writes, "Organisms are predicted to decrease investment in current reproduction when parasitism has the greatest impact on current reproductive ability."

In other words, "infection in animals typically leads to responses that invest in the survival, not offspring," Schwanz said.

In deer mice, however, the opposite was happening.

In the study, Schwanz infected 30 female deer mice with a parasite that lowers the future reproductive ability and eventually kills the mice. By producing larger babies now, the mice are probably compensating for this loss in future reproduction, she said.

She also kept 21 deer mice healthy as a control.

After several weeks, all the mice were paired with mates. When the baby mice were born to both infected and healthy mothers, the offspring were tagged and weighed.

The results show that the offspring of the infected mothers were bigger. In deer mice, larger offspring are more likely to survive and reproduce.

"This shows there is a lot of diversity in the ways animals deal with infection," she said.

As the results of this study are not what she was expecting, and Schwanz feels that makes the results were noteworthy.

"It is really striking to find such strong results," she said.

The type of parasite used in the study was an indirect parasite, meaning that it cannot be passed from one mouse to another. A deer mouse can only get infected from a source other than deer mice. That way Schwanz was able to ensure that mothers did not infect their offspring.


'/>"/>

Contact: Lisa Schwanz
schwanz@iastate.edu
617-990-7087
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Too much or too little weight gain poses risks to pregnant mothers, babies
2. Negligent, attentive mouse mothers show biological differences
3. Hungry mothers risk addiction in their adult children
4. Safer, more accurate radiation therapy for expecting mothers
5. Moms obesity during conception phase may set the stage for offsprings obesity risk
6. Species still have more viable offspring if they can choose their best mate
7. Over 50 percent of oceanic shark species threatened with extinction
8. Atmosphere threatened by pollutants entering ocean, prof says
9. Turtle nesting threatened by logging practices in Gabon, Smithsonian warns
10. Threatened bird species finds home at Western
11. Threatened birds may be rarer than geographic range maps suggest
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... FRANCISCO and BANGALORE, India , ... of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... provider, today announced a global partnership that will ... way to use mobile banking and payment services. ... is a key innovation area for financial services, but it ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , April ... part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of ... today announced a partnership to integrate the Onegini ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) ... their customers enhanced security to access and transact ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for ... biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with integration ... modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of the ... readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Regular discussions on a range of ... between the two entities said Poloz. Speaking at ... Ottawa , he pointed to the country,s inflation target, ... government. "In certain ... institutions have common economic goals, why not sit down and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... pleased to announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores ... 35 years, is proud to add Target to its list of well-respected retailers. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. ... test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI ... stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking ... Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: