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Data from: Telomere heritability and parental age at conception effects in a wild avian population

Citation

Sparks, Alexandra et al. (2022), Data from: Telomere heritability and parental age at conception effects in a wild avian population, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.vt4b8gtr1

Abstract

Individual variation in telomere length is predictive of health and mortality risk across a range of species. However, the relative influence of environmental and genetic variation on individual telomere length in wild populations remains poorly understood. Heritability of telomere length has primarily been calculated using parent–offspring regression which can be confounded by shared environments. To control for confounding variables, quantitative genetic ‘animal models’ can be used, but few studies have applied animal models in wild populations. Furthermore, parental age at conception may also influence offspring telomere length, but most studies have been cross-sectional. We investigated within- and between- parental age at conception effects and heritability of telomere length in the Seychelles warbler using measures from birds caught over 20 years and a multi-generational pedigree. We found a weak negative within-paternal age at conception effect (as fathers aged, their offspring had shorter telomeres) and a weak positive between-maternal age at conception effect (females that survived to older ages had offspring with longer telomeres). Animal models provided evidence that heritability and evolvability of telomere length was low in this population, and that variation in telomere length was not driven by early-life effects of hatch period or parental identities. qPCR plate had a large influence on telomere length variation and not accounting for it in the models would have underestimated heritability. Our study illustrates the need to include and account for technical variation in order to accurately estimate heritability, as well as other environmental effects, on telomere length in natural populations. 

Methods

These datasets are related to the manuscript:

Telomere heritability and parental age at conception effects in a wild avian population

A. M. Sparks, L. G. Spurgin, M. van der Velde, E. A. Fairfield, J. Komdeur, T. Burke, D. S. Richardson, H. L. Dugdale

 

Usage Notes

Please see the README file for descriptions of the columns in the telomere dataset. Full details of the methods can be found in the journal article. 

R scripts for analyses and the telomere dataset can be found at https://github.com/Seychelle-Warbler-Project/Sparks_2021_MolEcol

These datasets were collected as part of the long-term individual-based study of Seychelles warblers on Cousin Island in the Seychelles.

For questions related specifically to these datasets, or to request access to the pedigree before the embargo is lifted, please contact Alexandra Sparks (alexandrasparks6[at]gmail.com) or Hannah Dugdale (h.l.dugdale[at]rug.nl)

Funding

Natural Environment Research Council, Award: NE/P011284/1

Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Award: 825.09.013

Lucie Burgers Foundation and KNAW Schure Beijerinck Poppings grant, Award: SBP2013/04

Natural Environment Research Council, Award: NE/B504106/1

Natural Environment Research Council, Award: NE/F02083X/1

Natural Environment Research Council, Award: NE/K005502/1

Natural Environment Research Council, Award: NE/I021748/1

Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Award: 040.11.232

Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Award: 854.11.003

Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Award: 823.01.014

Lucie Burgers Foundation and KNAW Schure Beijerinck Poppings grant, Award: SBP2013/04