Effects of parental and own early developmental conditions on the phenotype expression in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

E.T. Krause, M. Naguib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The performance of an individual can be critically influenced by its experience early in life as well as trans-generationally by the conditions experienced by its parents. However, it remains unclear whether or not the early experience of parents and offspring interact with each other and adapt offspring when the parental and own early environ-mental conditions match. Here, zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) that had experienced either early low or high nutritional conditions raised their offspring under either matched or mismatched nutritional conditions. Parental and offspring early conditions both separately affected the offspring's adult phenotype, but early conditions experienced by parents and offspring did not interact as predicted. Offspring that grew up under conditions matching those their parents had experienced did not do better than those that grew up in a mis-matched environment. Thus, transgenerational effects remain a lifelong burden to the offspring acting in addition to the offspring's own early life experience. The lack of evidence for adaptive programming to matching environmental conditions may result from non-predictive environments under natural conditions in such opportunistic breeders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-275
JournalEvolutionary Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • risk-taking behavior
  • tits parus-major
  • catch-up growth
  • nutritional conditions
  • personality-traits
  • great tits
  • brood size
  • neonatal nutrition
  • genetic-variation
  • metabolic-rate


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