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Early maternal separation is not associated with changes in telomere length in domestic kittens (Felis catus)

Citation

Delgado, Mikel; Buffington, C.A.T. Tony; Bain, Melissa; Vernau, Karen (2020), Early maternal separation is not associated with changes in telomere length in domestic kittens (Felis catus), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.25338/B8PD0T

Abstract

Objective

The objective of this study was to determine if premature separation from the mother affected telomere length in domestic kittens (Felis catus) at one and eight weeks of life. Subjects were 42 orphaned kittens and 10 mother-reared kittens from local animal rescue groups and shelters. Blood (200 µl) was collected from kittens at 1 and 8 weeks of age via jugular venipuncture. Telomere length was assessed by qPCR (quantitative polymerase chain reaction) from 86 samples and expressed as a ratio of telomere PCR relative to a single copy gene PCR (T/S).

Results

A generalized linear model found no differences between groups in telomere ratio at one (F(1, 18.6) = 0.01, p = 0.91) or eight weeks of age (F(1, 20) = 0.54, p = 0.47), or between week 1 and week 8 (t(84) = 0.11, p =0.91). There were no detectable differences in telomere length between orphaned and mother-reared kittens at either one or eight weeks of age. Although telomere shortening is commonly associated with aging, even early in life, we also did not find evidence for telomere shortening between week one and week eight.