Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mice Mothers Devote Energies To Offspring When Life Is Threatened

Date:
May 29, 2008
Source:
Iowa State University
Summary:
Sick female deer mice devote their energy to producing healthier offspring. Deer mice offspring of infected mothers were bigger, meaning they are more likely to survive and reproduce. This finding was unexpected because most mammals tend to focus on their own survival when they are threatened with sickness or infection.

An Iowa State University researcher has found that sick female deer mice devote their energy to producing healthier offspring.

Lisa Schwanz, a researcher in the department of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, studied the size of offspring for both infected and healthy mice and found that females that had been infected with a parasite produced larger offspring than healthy females.

This finding was unexpected because most mammals tend to focus on their own survival when they are threatened with sickness or infection.

Schwanz's research findings have been published in New Scientist magazine.

She writes, "Organisms are predicted to decrease investment in current reproduction when parasitism has the greatest impact on current reproductive ability."

In other words, "infection in animals typically leads to responses that invest in the survival, not offspring," Schwanz said.

In deer mice, however, the opposite was happening.

In the study, Schwanz infected 30 female deer mice with a parasite that lowers the future reproductive ability and eventually kills the mice. By producing larger babies now, the mice are probably compensating for this loss in future reproduction, she said.

She also kept 21 deer mice healthy as a control.

After several weeks, all the mice were paired with mates. When the baby mice were born to both infected and healthy mothers, the offspring were tagged and weighed.

The results show that the offspring of the infected mothers were bigger. In deer mice, larger offspring are more likely to survive and reproduce.

"This shows there is a lot of diversity in the ways animals deal with infection," she said.

As the results of this study are not what she was expecting, and Schwanz feels that makes the results were noteworthy.

"It is really striking to find such strong results," she said.

The type of parasite used in the study was an indirect parasite, meaning that it cannot be passed from one mouse to another. A deer mouse can only get infected from a source other than deer mice. That way Schwanz was able to ensure that mothers did not infect their offspring.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Iowa State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Iowa State University. "Mice Mothers Devote Energies To Offspring When Life Is Threatened." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080528124714.htm>.
Iowa State University. (2008, May 29). Mice Mothers Devote Energies To Offspring When Life Is Threatened. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080528124714.htm
Iowa State University. "Mice Mothers Devote Energies To Offspring When Life Is Threatened." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080528124714.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins