Relationships between brood size and offspring body size in an ovoviviparous fish: maternal effects and genetic trade-off

Authors


Abstract

Maternal effects can form an important source of variation in offspring fitness and have important evolutionary and ecological consequences. To explore genetic control for body size of newborn offspring, the present study examined maternal brood size and offspring body size in 14 strains and performed cross experiments in an ovoviviparous fish, guppy. Correlation analyses among the strains indicated that the strains with larger brood size have smaller offspring body size. Diallel and reciprocal crosses among four strains revealed a large maternal, but no paternal, contribution to offspring body size. To examine whether offspring body size is determined by maternal genotypes and whether offspring body size correlates with albinism, backcrosses were performed between a wild-type strain with large offspring body size and an albino strain. Offspring body size differed from both the parental strains in one generation of backcrossing but was not significantly different from the paternal strains after three generations. In the backcross generations, the offspring yielded by albino individuals showed significantly smaller body size than those yielded by normal individuals. These results indicated that offspring body size is determined by maternal genotypes, suggesting that offspring body size is influenced by the maternal albinism gene or the maternal locus linked with the albinism locus. The significant negative correlation between maternal brood size and offspring body size detected through our experiments showed that the maternal genetic character of brood size strongly correlated with offspring body size, indicating genetic trade-off between maternal brood size and offspring body size in the guppy. J. Exp. Zool. 303A:635–642, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Ancillary