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Sex and strain differences in isotope turnover rates and metabolism in house mice (Mus musculus)

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The rate of nutrient incorporation into most organisms is an unknown but important factor in temporally variable systems. We investigate within-species variation in tissue turnover and metabolic rate among house mice (Mus musculus L., 1758). By establishing a predictive relationship between tissue turnover rate and metabolic rate, field-based studies could more easily estimate tissue turnover rates using metabolic rate as a surrogate. Here, a diet change was administered using male and female mice of two strains (BALB/c and CBA/J) to test whether a predictive relationship was detectable within a species. Resting metabolic rate (mean values of 1.50–3.64 mL O2·h–1·g–1) and metabolic tissue turnover m (0.02–0.07), were significantly different between sexes, but not between strains. Females of both strains exhibited a nitrogen turnover rate significantly faster than males. Females had less mass than males, which could account for the differences in tissue replacement rates between sexes. The difference in metabolic rate within a species (between strains) may not be large enough to affect the rate of tissue turnover, suggesting that field researchers may be able to assume similar turnover rates among same-sex individuals of the same species. However, it may be important to account for sexual dimorphism when studying tissue turnover and metabolism.
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Keywords: Mus musculus; isotope turnover; isotopes stables; metabolic rate; renouvellement isotopique; stable isotopes; taux métabolique

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Environmental Science, American University, Washington, DC 20016, USA. 2: Department of Biology, American University, Washington, DC 20016, USA.

Publication date: 2012-08-11

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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