Food-restricting first generation juvenile female hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) affects sex ratio and growth of third generation offspring

Biol Reprod. 1987 Oct;37(3):612-7. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod37.3.612.


Female hamsters (Generation 1) were fed ad libitum or were food-restricted to 65-75% of the amount consumed by controls during their first 50 days of life. Subjects were mated at 91 days of age. Their offspring (Generation 2) were fed ad libitum throughout the experiment, and female offspring were also mated at 91 days of age. Generation 3 litters were monitored every fifth day from birth until Day 25 post partum for litter size, sex ratio, and pup weights. Although there were no significant differences in Generation 3 litter sizes at birth, litters descended from food-restricted Generation 1 females (Group R) were significantly smaller on Days 5-25 than litters descended from control Generation 1 females (Group A). Sex ratios remained significantly greater in Group A than in Group R litters from birth to Day 25 but did not vary over time, suggesting similar post-partum mortality rates for both male and female pups. Weights of Generation 3 male and female pups did not vary significantly within treatments at any time. Group A males weighed significantly more than Group R males from birth through Day 25, but weights of Group A and Group R females were always similar. Food restriction early in life may have long-term consequences on sex ratios of subsequent generations in hamsters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Cricetinae
  • Female
  • Food Deprivation / physiology*
  • Growth*
  • Litter Size*
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • Sex Ratio*