Maternal effects on anogenital distance in a wild marmot population

Timothée D Fouqueray, Daniel T Blumstein, Raquel Monclús, Julien G A Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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In mammals, prenatal exposure to sex steroid hormones may have profound effects on later behavior and fitness and have been reported under both laboratory and field conditions. Anogenital distance is a non-invasive measure of prenatal exposure to sex steroid hormones. While we know that intra-uterine position and litter sex ratio influence anogenital distance, there are other, heretofore unstudied, factors that could influence anogenital distance, including maternal effects. We capitalized on a long-term study of wild yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris) to study the importance of maternal effects on explaining variation in anogenital distance and found significant effects. The strength of these effects varied annually. Taken together, our data highlights the strong variability due to environmental effects, and illustrates the importance of additive genetic and maternal genetic effects on neonatal anogenital distance. We suspect that, as others apply recently popularised quantitative genetic techniques to study free-living populations, such effects will be identified in other systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere92718
Number of pages5
JournalPloS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2014


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