Transgenerational effects of parental diet on offspring development and disease resistance in flies

Hue Dinh, Binh Nguyen, Juliano Morimoto Borges, Ida Lundback, Sheemal Kumar, Fleur Ponton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


The environmental conditions experienced by parents influence next generations, with the parental nutritional status playing an important role in shaping offspring phenotypes. Our understanding of transgenerational effects of parental diet on offspring pathogen resistance is, however, poorly documented. We manipulated the quality of parental diet (i.e., mother, father, or both) and measured effects on offspring development and survival after an immune challenge by septic infection. We used Bactrocera tryoni as host model infected with the pathogenic bacterium, Serratia marcescens. Our results showed no significant effect of maternal, or paternal, diet on offspring resistance. Interestingly, when the diet of both parents was manipulated, sons from parents fed either carbohydrate- or protein-biased diets had higher survival upon pathogen infection than sons from parents fed balanced diets. The quality of the parental diet had no effect on offspring developmental traits with the exception of egg hatching percentage which decreased when mothers were fed a protein-biased diet. Our results emphasised the complexity of nutritional transgenerational effects on offspring pathogen resistance and development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number606993
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • transgenerational effects
  • parental diet
  • Serratia marcescens
  • offspring
  • development
  • disease resistance


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