Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 176, Issue 6, pp 575–579 | Cite as

Environmental and genetic components of oxidative stress in wild kestrel nestlings (Falco tinnunculus)

  • David Costantini
  • Giacomo Dell’Omo
Original Paper


In this study, we estimated the environmental and genetic components of two variables related to avian oxidative stress using wild nestlings of the Eurasian kestrel (Falco tinnunculus). The study was carried out during two breeding seasons. In the first season, we assessed the between- and within-nest resemblance in serum reactive oxygen metabolites (ROMs) and total serum antioxidant barrier (OXY). In the second season, we carried out a cross-fostering experiment to determine the importance of environmental and genetic factors on ROMs and OXY. The 23.5% of ROMs variance was explained by the nest of origin, indicating a main genetic component. In contrast, the 52.8% of OXY variance was explained by the nest of rearing, indicating that this variable was more influenced by environmental components. These findings suggest that variations in ROMs and OXY could reflect, respectively, the expression of different genetic polymorphisms and differences in dietary uptake of antioxidants.


Antioxidants Cross-fostering Free radicals Heritability Oxidative damage 



We thank Stefania Casagrande, Stefania De Filippis and Giuseppe Di Lieto for lab and field assistance in 2003; Gianfranco Brambilla and Alberto Fanfani for their support of this research; Peter W. Christie for the revision of English; and two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments that improved the manuscript. Part of the work was sponsored by the scientific association Ornis italica. David Costantini was supported by a PhD fellowship from the University of Rome La Sapienza.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell’UomoUniversità La SapienzaRomeItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento dell’Ambiente e Prevenzione Primaria, Unità di Chimica TossicologicaIstituto Superiore di SanitàRomeItaly
  3. 3.Ornis italicaRomeItaly

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