Transgenerational effects OF Parental care

Image: Joël Meunier

Image: Joël Meunier

In this study, I have used an insect study system and changed my research focus from male-female interactions to trans-generational interaction between parents and offspring, and how parent-offspring conflict affects oxidative stress and damage in the European earwig (Forficula auricularia). A key aspect in parent-offspring relations is how parents may transmit information about environmental quality to their offspring to prime their physiological machinery for the expected conditions. We tested this hypothesis by manipulating food condition and using a full factorial cross fostering design. Further, we examined effects on oxidative balance using biomarkers of lipid peroxidation, among other antioxidant markers, to investigate the cost of food deprivation and brood care. We found that offspring experiencing food availability matching the one of their mothers had an increased survival to adulthood compared with offspring experiencing mismatched conditions.


Mathias Kölliker, University of Basel
Dominik Vogt, University of Basel
Fabrice Helfenstein, University of Neuchâtel