Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 405296
Title Trade-off between growth and immune function: a meta-analysis of selection experiments
Author(s) Most, P.J. van der; Jong, B. de; Parmentier, H.K.; Verhulst, S.
Source Functional Ecology 25 (2011)1. - ISSN 0269-8463 - p. 74 - 80.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2435.2010.01800.x
Department(s) Adaptation Physiology
WIAS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) newcastle-disease virus - increased body-weight - random-bred strain - sheep erythrocytes - antibody-response - pasteurella-multocida - life-history - physiological-responses - ecological immunology - evolutionary ecology
Abstract 1. Evidence suggests that developing and maintaining an effective immune system may be costly and that an organism has to make a trade-off between immune function and other fitness-enhancing traits. To test for a trade-off between growth and immune function we carried out a meta-analysis of data from lines of poultry that had been divergently selected for either growth (body mass) or an aspect of immune function. This is relevant to our understanding of the evolution of immune function, but also because the increased prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and calls to restrict the use of antibiotics in the agricultural industry has made immune function of livestock an important theme. Has the selection of animals for rapid growth unintentionally resulted in reduced immune function? 2. The lines selected for increased growth all showed a strong and significant decrease in immune function (standard difference in means = 0·8; P <0·001). No difference was found between the effects on cellular or humoral immunity, although there were few data on cellular immunity, and hence this deserves more study. However, in the lines selected for immune function the effect on growth was heterogeneous and overall it was close to zero. 3. Testing for publication bias revealed that the effect of selection for body mass on immune function was robust. However, there was considerable heterogeneity in both body mass and immune function data. The heterogeneity in the growth-selected lines cannot be accounted for by gender or species: the only turkey line had an effect size between that of the two chicken lines. 4. In conclusion, we found that selection for growth does indeed compromise immune function, but selection for immune function did not consistently affect growth. This is in agreement with the supposition that the costs of growth are large relative to the costs of immune function, and on a practical level this suggests that it may be possible to breed animals for increased growth without loss of immune function.
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