Intergenerational effects of early adversity on survival in wild baboons

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Early life adversity can affect an individual’s health, survival, and fertility for many years after the adverse experience. Whether early life adversity also imposes intergenerational effects on the exposed individual’s offspring is not well understood. We fill this gap by leveraging prospective, longitudinal data on a wild, long-lived primate. We find that juveniles whose mothers experienced early life adversity exhibit high mortality before age 4, independent of the juvenile’s own experience of early adversity. These juveniles often preceded their mothers in death by 1 to 2 years, indicating that high adversity females decline in their ability to raise offspring near the end of life. While we cannot exclude direct effects of a parent’s environment on offspring quality (e.g., inherited epigenetic changes), our results are completely consistent with a classic parental effect, in which the environment experienced by a parent affects its future phenotype and therefore its offspring’s phenotype.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zipple, MN; Archie, EA; Tung, J; Altmann, J; Alberts, SC

Published Date

  • September 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 8 /

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2050-084X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.7554/eLife.47433.001

Citation Source

  • Scopus