Prenatal acoustic programming of mitochondrial function for high temperatures in an arid-adapted bird
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A special call by zebra finch that alerts not-yet-hatched offspring of rising temperatures enables fledglings to cope better with heat.
Zebra finches living in the semi-arid conditions of the Australian outback give a special call to their eggs when the temperature rises above 26 degrees Celsius. This has led to speculation that it might somehow benefit the chicks after they hatch.
Now, a team led by researchers from Deakin University in Australia has found evidence that this is indeed the case.
By analysing blood samples from 13-day-old fledglings, the researchers discovered that the call programmed the chicks’ mitochondria — organelles that generate most of the cell’s energy and can also produce heat — to produce less heat and more of the energy-storing molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) under hot conditions.
- Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288, 20211893 (2022). doi: 10.1098/rspb.2021.1893
|Deakin University, Australia||0.79|
|Clemson University, United States of America (USA)||0.14|
|Doñana Biological Station (EBD), CSIC, Spain||0.07|