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Data from: Retracted: Experimental evidence that maternal corticosterone controls adaptive offspring sex ratios

Citation

Pryke, Sarah R. et al. (2014), Data from: Retracted: Experimental evidence that maternal corticosterone controls adaptive offspring sex ratios, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.fv21r

Abstract

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN RETRACTED 1. Sex allocation theory has received considerable attention, yet the mechanism(s) by which mothers skew offspring sex ratios remain unknown. In birds, females are the heterogametic sex, which potentially gives them control of whether gametes will be male or female. How females might control the sex of the gamete is unclear, but one possibility is that variation in steroid hormones may mediate this process. 2. We experimentally altered circulating levels of corticosterone in female Gouldian finches (Erythrura gouldiae), a species that demonstrates both extreme stress responses and extreme offspring sex ratio biases when breeding with a low-quality (genetically-incompatible) partner. 3. During egg production, individual females received both corticosterone and metyrapone (a corticosterone-synthesis inhibitor) implants, in random order, to induce both high and low levels of circulating stress hormones (within physiological limits). 4. We found that females with elevated corticosterone levels produced male-biased sex ratios, but when the same females were treated with metyrapone they produced female-biased offspring sex ratios. 5. These stress responses are adaptive because females constrained to breeding with low-quality males can substantially increase their fitness by overproducing sons. Changes in maternal corticosterone levels during stressful situations, such as the quality of a breeding partner, may provide an endocrine mechanism that can be exploited for strategic sex allocation.

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