A1 Journal article (refereed)
Early life of fathers affects offspring fitness in a wild rodent (2019)

Van Cann, J., Koskela, E., Mappes, T., Mikkonen, A.-M., Mökkönen, M., & Watts, P. C. (2019). Early life of fathers affects offspring fitness in a wild rodent. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 32(10), 1141-1151. https://doi.org/10.1111/jeb.13516

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Van Cann, Joannes; Koskela, Esa; Mappes, Tapio; Mikkonen, Anne-Mari; Mökkönen, Mikael; Watts, Phillip C.

Journal or series: Journal of Evolutionary Biology

ISSN: 1010-061X

eISSN: 1420-9101

Publication year: 2019

Volume: 32

Issue number: 10

Pages range: 1141-1151

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jeb.13516

Research data link: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1288354

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/65415


Intergenerational fitness effects on offspring due to the early life of the parent are well studied from the standpoint of the maternal environment, but intergenerational effects owing to the paternal early life environment are often overlooked. Nonetheless, recent laboratory studies in mammals and ecologically relevant studies in invertebrates predict that paternal effects can have a major impact on the offspring's phenotype. These non‐genetic, environment‐dependent paternal effects provide a mechanism for fathers to transmit environmental information to their offspring, and could allow rapid adaptation. We used the bank vole Myodes glareolus, a wild rodent species with no paternal care, to test the hypothesis that a high population density environment in the early life of fathers can affect traits associated with offspring fitness. We show that the protein content in the diet and/or social environment experienced during the father's early life (prenatal and weaning) influence the phenotype and survival of his offspring and may indicate adaptation to density‐dependent costs. Furthermore, we show that experiencing multiple environmental factors during the paternal early life can lead to a different outcome on the offspring phenotype than stimulated by experience of a single environmental factor, highlighting the need to study developmental experiences in tandem rather than independent of each other.

Keywords: Clethrionomys glareolus; living environment; nutrition; adaptation (change); survival; epigenetic inheritance; descendants

Free keywords: paternal effect; fitness; early life environment; intergenerational effects; adaptation; protein restricted diet; winter survival; population density; Myodes glareolus; social confrontation

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2023-10-01 at 13:57