Abstract # 148:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 19, 2010 02:15 PM-02:25 PM: Session 27 (Mezzanine Ballroom A/B/C/D) Oral Presentation


PRENATAL ANDROSTENEDIONE LEVELS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH JUVENILE PLAY BEHAVIOR IN THE WHITE-FACED MARMOSET (CALLITHRIX GEOFFROYI)

A. K. Birnie, S. Hendricks, A. C. Mustoe and J. A. French
University of Nebraska at Omaha, Andrew K. Birnie, 6001 Dodge Street, Allwine Hall 419, Omaha, NE 68182, USA
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Prenatal androgens can influence a number of developmental and behavioral trajectories. In some species, higher levels of gestational androstenedione (A4; an androgen precursor) are associated with higher rates of rough-and-tumble play during early-life development. This study evaluated the effects of prenatal A4 on juvenile play behavior in a small, neotropical primate, the white-faced marmoset. Eighteen pregnancies yielded a total of 29 subjects (13 females; 16 males). One to three first-void morning urine samples were collected from gestating females each week and analyzed for A4 concentrations using an adapted radioimmunoassay (RIA) procedure, correcting for urinary solute concentrations by creatinine. Social play behaviors were recorded during behavioral observations two to five times per week for all juveniles age 5-10 months. An index of play effort was computed by summing the number of play initiations and the number of attempted play initiations for each observation. Mean gestational A4 varied significantly across trimesters [F(2, 32)=12.39, P<0.001], and second trimester A4 was higher than both first and third trimester A4 [P’s<0.01]. Higher levels of first, second and third trimester A4 levels were all associated with higher rates of play effort directed toward fathers for juvenile females [r’s>0.70, P’s<0.05], but not males. Results suggest that the development of behavioral trajectories of female marmosets may be more sensitive to variations in prenatal androgen levels than males.