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Type of publication: Diploma Thesis
Type of document:

Year: 2011

Authors: Tschoner, Theresa

Title: "Mother´s Curse" beim Feldhasen (Lepus europaeus): Gibt es auch negative Auswirkungen auf die Fortpflanzungsleistung der Häsinnen?.

Other title: "Mother's Curse" in brown hares (lepus europaeus):Are there also any negative effects on females?

Source: Diplomarbeit, Vet. Med. Univ. Wien, pp. 34.


Suchentrunk Franz

Ruf Thomas

Vetmed Research Units:
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology

Graduation date: 31.05.11

This study examined the reproductive data of the female hares (n=109) of the past ten years of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology of the University of the Veterinary Medicine Vienna. The aim was to test for a possible negative effect of a particular mtDNA haplotype (termed “B”) on various female reproductive parameters. This haplotype has been introgressed by hares from central Italy into the local breeding group intentionally more than ten years ago and has resulted in reduced reproductive performance of males (“Mother´s Curse effect”). Reproductive parameters were compared between females that carried the “B” haplotype (n=16) and those that carried any of the three other local haplotypes (“non-B” haplogroup, n=93). Data sets on female reproduction, and growth and survival of leverets of the last ten years were examined statistically to assess if the haplotypes had any significant negative effect by simultaneously controlling for other possible factors such as age and body weight of the mothers, season of birth, or litter size. Reproductive and leveret growth parameters tested were litter size and birth weight of leverets, increase in body weight of leverets during the first two weeks of life, survival rate of leverets within the first four weeks of live, and milk achievement of the mothers over four weeks until weaning of the young. All dames (n=425) and leverets (n=772) were allocated to either haplotype “non-B” (mothers n=332; leverets n=602) or haplotype “B” (mothers n=93; leverets n=170). No significant effect of mtDNA haplotypes was found for any of the reproductive fitness parameters of mothers or leverets, contrary to the negative effect of the “B” haplotype in reproduction of males. Average milk production of females per day and leveret depended on litter size; the mean birth weight of leverets was significantly influenced by interactions of age and body weight of females four weeks before birth as well as age of the mother and litter size. The results of this study do not suggest a selective disadvantage of the mtDNA “B” haplotype for female reproductive performance in the breeding station of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology.

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