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Parental age does not influence offspring telomeres during early life in common gulls (Larus canus)
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  • Tuul Sepp,
  • Richard Meitern,
  • Britt Heidinger,
  • Kristina Noreikiene,
  • Kalev Rattiste,
  • Peeter Hõrak,
  • Lauri Saks,
  • Janek Urvik,
  • Mathieu Giraudeau
Tuul Sepp
University of Tartu

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Richard Meitern
University of Tartu
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Britt Heidinger
North Dakota State University
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Kristina Noreikiene
Estonian University of Life Sciences
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Kalev Rattiste
Estonian University of Life Sciences
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Peeter Hõrak
University of Tartu
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Lauri Saks
University of Tartu
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Janek Urvik
University of Tartu
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Mathieu Giraudeau
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Parental age can affect offspring telomere length through heritable and epigenetic-like effects, but at what stage during development these effects are established is not well known. To address this, we conducted a cross-fostering experiment in common gulls (Larus canus) that enabled us distinguish between pre- and post-natal parental age effects on offspring telomere length. Whole clutches were exchanged after clutch completion within and between parental age classes (young and old) and blood samples were collected from chicks at hatching and during the fastest growth phase (11 days later) to measure telomeres. Neither the ages of the natal nor the foster parents’ predicted the telomere length or the change in telomere lengths of their chicks. Telomere length was repeatable within chicks, but increased across development (repeatability = 0.55, Intraclass Correlation Coefficient within sampling events 0.934). Telomere length and the change in telomere length were not predicted by post-natal growth rate. Taken together, these findings suggest that in common gulls, telomere length during early in life is not influenced by parental age or growth rate, which may indicate that protective mechanisms buffer telomeres from external conditions during development in this relatively long-lived species.
02 Oct 2020Submitted to Molecular Ecology
03 Oct 2020Submission Checks Completed
03 Oct 2020Assigned to Editor
08 Oct 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
23 Dec 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
20 Jan 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
18 Feb 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
18 Feb 20211st Revision Received
23 Feb 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
27 Feb 20212nd Revision Received
27 Feb 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
22 Mar 2021Editorial Decision: Accept
12 Apr 2021Published in Molecular Ecology. 10.1111/mec.15905