This study analyzes the long-term effects of delayed motherhood on reproductive fitness and life expectancy of offspring in the mouse. Hybrid (C57BL/6JIco × CBA/JIco) first-generation (F1) females, either at the age of 10 or 51 wk, were individually housed with a randomly selected 12- to 14-wk-old hybrid male following a breeding pen system until females reached the end of their reproductive life. Reproductive fitness of second-generation (F2) females was tested from the age of 25 wk until the end of their reproductive life. In F2 males, the testing period ranged from the age of 52 wk until their natural death. Delayed motherhood of hybrid F1 female mice was associated with a decreased percentage of male F3 offspring at birth and lower life expectancy and body weight during adulthood of F2 offspring. There was, however, no evident negative effect of delayed motherhood on several reproductive fitness variables in either male or female F2 offspring. This included between-parturition interval, litter size at birth and at weaning, body weight at weaning and preweaning mortality of F3 pups, percentage of F3 litters with at least one pup cannibalized, and time at which female and male F2 offspring ceased their reproductive life. These data clearly show that delayed motherhood in the mouse is associated with negative long-term effects on offspring survival.
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