Maternal age is known to be of importance for the fitness of the offspring. Few studies have, however, been able to analyse this phenomenon as an isolated effect without confounding effects through genetic variation. This difficulty can be circumvented by working with parthenogenetic organisms. We investigated the effect of maternal and grandmaternal age on wing traits, pupal survival and developmental instability (131) in both a benign and a high temperature environment using two different parthenogenetic strains of Drosophila mercatorum. Both the maternal and grandmaternal age was found to influence all the traits. Two opposing factors seem to shape the effects of maternal age. Senescence in older mothers leads to a reduction in offspring fitness, whereas, plastic responses lead to more competitive and stress resistant offspring from older mothers. The relative importance of these factors is trait specific and is influenced by environmental factors. DI is mostly influenced by senescence whereas wing sizes are influenced mostly by plastic responses towards higher competition. This means that any analysis of fitness should take age composition of at least two generations into account. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Faurby, S., Kjaersgaard, A., Pertoldi, C., & Loeschcke, V. (2005). The effect of maternal and grandmaternal age in benign and high temperature environments. Experimental Gerontology, 40(12), 988-996. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2005.08.007