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Data on paternal age and sperm production of the progeny

Cite this dataset

Sorci, Gabriele et al. (2021). Data on paternal age and sperm production of the progeny [Dataset]. Dryad.


Parental age has profound consequences for offspring’s phenotype. However, whether patrilineal age affects offspring sperm production is unknown, despite the importance of sperm production for male reproductive success in species facing post-copulatory sexual selection. Using a longitudinal dataset on ejaculate attributes of the houbara bustard, we showed that offspring sired by old fathers had different age-dependent trajectories of sperm production compared to offspring sired by young fathers. Specifically, they produced less sperm (-48%) in their first year of life, and 14% less during their lifetime. Paternal age had the strongest effect, with weak evidence for grandpaternal or great grandpaternal age effects. These results show that paternal age can affect offspring reproductive success by reducing sperm production, establishing an intergenerational link between aging and sexual selection.