Progeny of old parents have fewer offspring

Reproduction at old age involves risks that may impact ones’ own life and may impose reduced biological fitness on the offspring. Such evidence, previously obtained in humans and other taxa under laboratory conditions, has now been confirmed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen together with colleagues from the UK and New Zealand for the first time in free-living animals. In a long-term study on a population of house sparrows they found that offspring of older parents themselves produced fewer young. Such a transgenerational effect is important for the understanding of the evolution of longevity. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)