Data from: How do growth and sibling competition affect telomere dynamics in the first month of life of long-lived seabird?
Mizutani, Yuichi; Niizuma, Yasuaki; Yoda, Ken (2017), Data from: How do growth and sibling competition affect telomere dynamics in the first month of life of long-lived seabird?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2n16f
Telomeres are nucleotide sequences located at the ends of chromosomes that promote genome stability. Changes in telomere length (dynamics) are related to fitness or life expectancy, and telomere dynamics during the development phase are likely to be affected by growth and stress factors. Here, we examined telomere dynamics of black-tailed gull chicks (Larus crassirostris) in nests with and without siblings. We found that the initial telomere lengths of singletons at hatching were longer than those of siblings, indicating that singletons are higher-quality chicks than siblings in terms of telomere length. Other factors likely affecting individual quality (i.e., sex, laying date, laying order of eggs, and clutch size) were not related to telomere lengths. Within broods, initial telomere lengths were longer in older chicks than in younger chicks, suggesting that maternal effects, which vary with laying sequence, influence the initial lengths. Additionally, telomeres of chicks with a sibling showed more attrition between hatching and fledging than those of singleton chicks, suggesting that being raised with siblings can cause a sustained competitive environment that leads to telomere loss. High growth rates were associated with a low degree of telomere shortening observed in older siblings, perhaps because slower growth reflects higher food stress and/or higher aerobic metabolism from increased begging effort. Our results show that developmental telomere attrition was an inevitable consequence in two-chick nests in the pre- and post-hatching microenvironments due to the combination of social stress within the nest and maternal effects. The results of our study shed light on telomere dynamics in early life, which may represent an important physiological undercurrent of life-history traits.