Offspring sex ratio in domestic goats: Trivers-Willard out of natural selection

https://doi.org/10.17221/8170-CJASCitation:Polák J., Mareš V., Konrád R., Frynta D. (2015): Offspring sex ratio in domestic goats: Trivers-Willard out of natural selection. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 60: 208-215.
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The Trivers-Willard hypothesis (TWH) predicts the ability of mothers to adaptively adjust offspring sex ratio through differential maternal investment based on their relative body condition. In the present study we have analyzed an extensive data set on the secondary sex ratio (SSR) including 59 335 goat kids born in 30 633 litters to 11 644 mothers on farms all over the Czech Republic during the years 1992–2004. We found a male-biased SSR 0.568, which significantly deviates from the predicted balanced Fisherian equilibrium 1 : 1 (P < 0.0001). A generalized estimating equation model controlled for mother’s identity revealed a significant effect of maternal age and season of conception (P < 0.001). Conversely, neither paternal age, gestation length, nor litter size were found to explain the sex ratio variation. We also failed to prove any effect of variables associated with maternal condition, particularly her body weight, breed, arbitrary ranking of genetic quality, and hornedness that were available in a data subset. Thus, unlike in some other ungulate species, our findings do not support the TWH in the domestic goat despite the tendency for male-biased litters and we discuss some alternative adaptive and proximate mechanism of the mammalian SSR. 
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