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Maternal Effects in Mammals

Evolutionary maternal effects occur whenever a mother’s phenotypic traits directly affect her offspring’s phenotype, independent of the offspring’s genotype. Some of the phenotypic traits that result in maternal effects have a genetic basis, whereas others are environmentally determined. For example, the size of a litter produced by a mammalian mother—a trait with a strong genetic basis—can affect the growth rate of her offspring, while a mother’s dominance rank—an environmentally determined trait—can affect the dominance rank of her offspring.

            The first volume published on the subject in more than a decade, Maternal Effects in Mammals reflects advances in genomic, ecological, and behavioral research, as well new understandings of the evolutionary interplay between mothers and their offspring. Dario Maestripieri and Jill M. Mateo bring together a learned group of contributors to synthesize the vast literature on a range of species, highlight evolutionary processes that were previously overlooked, and propose new avenues of research. Maternal Effects in Mammals will serve as the most comprehensive compendium on and stimulus for interdisciplinary treatments of mammalian maternal effects.

352 pages | 9 halftones, 11 line drawings, 10 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2009

Biological Sciences: Behavioral Biology, Evolutionary Biology

Cognitive Science: Human and Animal Cognition


“This book will be useful to anyone studying maternal effects in any species, as well as to everyone studying mammals. The importance of the issues the editors consider is not just restricted to maternal effects, and their application is not just restricted to mammals. Maternal Effects in Mammals will be highly influential. It will set the tone for research on maternal effects for many years to come.”

Stephen M. Shuster, Northern Arizona University

Table of Contents


1. The role of maternal effects in mammalian evolution and adaptation

            Dario Maestripieri and Jill M. Mateo

2. The genetics and evolutionary consequences of maternal effects

            James M. Cheverud and Jason B. Wolf

3. A theoretical overview of genetic maternal effects: evolutionary predictions and empirical tests with mammalian data

Michael J. Wade, Nicholas K. Priest, and Tami E. Cruickshank

4. Maternal effects on evolutionary dynamics in wild small mammals

            Andrew G. McAdam

5. Maternal effects in wild ungulates

            Alastair J. Wilson and Marco Festa-Bianchet

6. Maternal effects on offspring size and development in pinnipeds

            W. Don Bowen

7. Maternal influences on development, social relationships and survival behaviors

            Jill M. Mateo

8. Maternal influences on offspring food preferences and feeding behaviors in mammals

            Bennett G. Galef, Jr.  

9. The trans-generational influence of maternal care on offspring gene expression and behavior in rodents

            Frances A. Champagne and James P. Curley

10. Effects of intrauterine position in litter-bearing mammals

            John G. Vandenbergh 

11. Maternal effects in fissiped carnivores

            Kay E. Holekamp and Stephanie M. Dloniak

12. Maternal influences on offspring growth, reproduction, and behavior in primates

            Dario Maestripieri

13. Maternal effects, social cognitive development, and the evolution of human intelligence

            David F. Bjorklund, Jason Grotuss, and Adriana Csinady

14. Maternal effects in mammals: conclusions and future directions

            Jill M. Mateo and Dario Maestripieri



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