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Rapid embryonic accretion of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the brain of an altricial bird with an aquatic-based maternal diet

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This article communicates the results of a study conducted on red-winged blackbirds where brain phospholipid composition during development was measured and diet was manipulated. The dietary study confirmed that nestling brains are sensitive to fatty acid supply. The findings of this article suggest that Red-winged blackbirds may be able to advance cognitive development relative to other altricial species owing to their aquatic maternal diet.

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8 p.

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Price, Edwin R.; Sirsat, Sarah K. G.; Sirsat, Tushar S.; Venables, Barney J. & Dzialowski, Edward M. (Edward Michael) July 23, 2018.

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This article communicates the results of a study conducted on red-winged blackbirds where brain phospholipid composition during development was measured and diet was manipulated. The dietary study confirmed that nestling brains are sensitive to fatty acid supply. The findings of this article suggest that Red-winged blackbirds may be able to advance cognitive development relative to other altricial species owing to their aquatic maternal diet.

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8 p.

Notes

Abstract: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an important and abundant fatty acid moiety in vertebrate brains. We measured brain phospholipid composition during development in red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), an altricial species that breeds in aquatic habitats. We also manipulated diet by feeding nestlings fish oil or sunflower oil. Finally, we assessed selective uptake of yolk by comparing the yolk fatty acid composition of freshly laid eggs and day-old hatchlings. Relative to other altricial species, blackbirds achieved high DHA in brain phospholipids (20% of phospholipid fatty acids in day-old hatchlings). This was not a result of selective uptake from the yolk, but rather a consequence of a high proportion of DHA in the yolk (2.5% of total lipids) at laying. Our dietary study confirmed that nestling brains are sensitive to fatty acid supply. Red-winged blackbirds may be able to advance cognitive development relative to other altricial species owing to their aquatic maternal diet.

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  • Journal of Experimental Biology, 221(14), Company of Biologists, July 23, 2018, pp. 1-5

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  • Publication Title: Journal of Experimental Biology
  • Volume: 221
  • Issue: 14
  • Peer Reviewed: Yes

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UNT Scholarly Works

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  • July 23, 2018

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  • Aug. 3, 2020, 3:07 p.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2023, 2:15 p.m.

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Price, Edwin R.; Sirsat, Sarah K. G.; Sirsat, Tushar S.; Venables, Barney J. & Dzialowski, Edward M. (Edward Michael). Rapid embryonic accretion of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the brain of an altricial bird with an aquatic-based maternal diet, article, July 23, 2018; (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1705539/: accessed May 23, 2024), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Science.

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