Influence of body condition on reproductive output in the guinea pig

  • Michel C
  • Bonnet X
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Reproduction is expensive. Substantial body reserves (i.e. high body condition) are usually required for females to undertake offspring production. In many vertebrates, maternal body condition positively influences reproductive output, and emaciated individuals skip reproduction. However, the impact of extremely high body condition, more specifically obesity, on animal reproductive performance remains poorly understood and research has generated contradictory results. For instance, obesity negatively affects fertility in women, but does not influence reproductive capacity or reproductive output in laboratory rodents. We examined the influence of high body condition on reproductive status and reproductive output in the guinea pig. In captivity, when fed ad libitum, guinea pigs store large amounts of fat tissues and exhibit a tendency for obesity. Our results show that obesity negatively affected reproduction in this species: both the proportion of fertile females and litter size were lower in the fattest females. Therefore, guinea pigs may represent suitable organisms to better understand the negative effect of obesity on reproduction. J. Exp. Zool. 317:2431, 2012. (c) 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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  • C L Michel

  • X Bonnet

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