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PLOS ONE  2012 

Transgenerational Effects of Parental Larval Diet on Offspring Development Time, Adult Body Size and Pathogen Resistance in Drosophila melanogaster

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031611

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Environmental conditions experienced by parents are increasingly recognized to affect offspring performance. We set out to investigate the effect of parental larval diet on offspring development time, adult body size and adult resistance to the bacterium Serratia marcescens in Drosophila melanogaster. Flies for the parental generation were raised on either poor or standard diet and then mated in the four possible sex-by-parental diet crosses. Females that were raised on poor food produced larger offspring than females that were raised on standard food. Furthermore, male progeny sired by fathers that were raised on poor food were larger than male progeny sired by males raised on standard food. Development times were shortest for offspring whose one parent (mother or the father) was raised on standard and the other parent on poor food and longest for offspring whose parents both were raised on poor food. No evidence for transgenerational effects of parental diet on offspring disease resistance was found. Although paternal effects have been previously demonstrated in D. melanogaster, no earlier studies have investigated male-mediated transgenerational effects of diet in this species. The results highlight the importance of not only considering the relative contribution each parental sex has on progeny performance but also the combined effects that the two sexes may have on offspring performance.


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