Neuroendocrine control of broodiness

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In the majority of vertebrates, survival of offspring to sexual maturation is important for increasing population size, and parental investment in the young is important for reproductive success. Consequently, parental care is critical for the survival of offspring in many species, and many vertebrates have adapted this behavior to their social and ecological environments. Parental care is defined as any behavior that is performed in association with one’s offspring (Rosenblatt, Mayer, Siegel. Maternal behavior among nonprimate mammals. In: Adler, Pfaff, Goy, editors. Handbook of behavioral neurobiology. New York: Plenum; 1985. p. 229–98) and is well characterized in mammals and birds. In birds (class Aves), this is due to the high level of diversity across species. Parental behavior in birds protects the young from intruders, and generally involves nest building, incubation, and broody behavior which protect their young from an intruder, and the offspring are reared to independence. Broodiness is complexly regulated by the central nervous system and is associated with multiple hormones and neurotransmitters produced by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. The mechanism of this behavior has been extensively characterized in domestic chicken (Gallus domesticus), turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), and pigeons and doves (family Columbidae). This chapter summarizes broodiness in birds from a physiology, genetics, and molecular biology perspective.




Ohkubo, T. (2017). Neuroendocrine control of broodiness. In Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (Vol. 1001, pp. 151–171). Springer New York LLC.

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