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Han, Chang S. and Dingemanse, Niels J. (2015): Effect of diet on the structure of animal personality. In: Frontiers in Zoology 12:S5 [PDF, 1MB]

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There is increasing interest in the proximate factors that underpin individual variation in suites of correlated behaviours. In this paper, we propose that dietary macronutrient composition, an underexplored environmental factor, might play a key role. Variation in macronutrient composition can lead to among-individual differentiation in single behaviours ('personality') as well as among-individual covariation between behaviours ('behavioural syndromes'). Here, we argue that the nutritional balance during any life stage might affect the development of syndrome structure and the expression of genes with pleiotropic effects that influence development of multiple behaviours, hence genetic syndrome structure. We further suggest that males and females should typically differ in diet-dependent genetic syndrome structure despite a shared genetic basis. We detail how such diet-dependent multivariate gene-environment interactions can have major repercussions for the evolution of behavioural syndromes.

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