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Data from: Oxidative stress experienced during early development influences the offspring phenotype

Cite this dataset

Romero Haro, Ana Angela; Alonso-Alvarez, Carlos (2020). Data from: Oxidative stress experienced during early development influences the offspring phenotype [Dataset]. Dryad.


Oxidative stress (OS) experienced early in life can affect an individual’s phenotype. However, its consequences for the next generation remain largely unexplored. We manipulated the OS level endured by zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) during their development by transitorily inhibiting the synthesis of the key antioxidant glutathione (‘early-high-OS’). The offspring of these birds and control parents were cross-fostered at hatching to enlarge or reduce its brood size. Independently of parents’ early-life OS levels, the chicks raised in enlarged broods showed lower erythrocyte glutathione levels, revealing glutathione sensitivity to environmental conditions. Control (“early-low-OS”) biological mothers produced females, not males, that attained a higher body mass when raised in a benign environment (i.e. the reduced brood). In contrast, biological mothers exposed to early-life OS produced heavier males, not females, when allocated in reduced broods. Early-life OS also affected the parental rearing capacity because 12d-old nestlings raised by a foster pair with both early-high-OS members grew shorter legs (tarsus) than chicks from other groups. The results indicate that environmental conditions during development can affect early glutathione levels, which may, in turn, influence the next generation through both pre- and postnatal parental effects. The results also demonstrate that early-life OS can constrain the offspring phenotype.


Dataset collected from a transgenerational study. F0 pairs produced F1 offspring that were early treated with every two days BSO injections inducing a reduction in total glutathione (tGSH) synthesis at 14d old. A random subsample of F1 adult birds was allowed to freely mate and breed in a large outdoor aviary. Hatchlings (F2) were cross-fostered during the first days of their life (mean 2-d old) to increase or reduce the original brood size to test the effect of the early development treatment of their parents under two differentiated environments (adverse or benign, respectively).

Usage notes

The dataset has two sheets. The information and phenotype variables of the F2 nestlings are on the first sheet and the information about the reproductive events of the F1 parents is on the second sheet. The explanation of the variables is included as a comment on the variable name.