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Length polymorphisms at two candidate genes explain variation of migratory behaviors in blackpoll warblers (Setophaga striata)

By Joel Ralston, Lydia Lorenc, Melissa Montes, William V. DeLuca, Jeremy J. Kirchman, Bradley K. Woodworth, Stuart A. Mackenzie, Amy Newman, Hilary A. Cooke, Nikole E. Freeman, Alex O. Sutton, Lila Tauzer and D. Ryan Norris


Migratory behaviors such as the timing and duration of migration are genetically inherited and can be under strong natural selection, yet we still know very little about the specific genes or molecular pathways that control these behaviors. Studies in candidate genes Clock and Adcyap1 have revealed that both of these loci can be significantly correlated with migratory behaviors in birds, though observed relationships appear to vary across species. We investigated geographic genetic structure of Clock and Adcyap1 in four populations of blackpoll warblers (Setophaga striata), a Neotropical-Nearctic migrant that exhibits geographic variation in migratory timing and duration across its boreal breeding distribution. Further, we used data on migratory timing and duration, obtained from light-level geolocator trackers to investigate candidate genotype-phenotype relationships at the individual level. While we found no geographic structure in either candidate gene, we did find evidence that candidate gene lengths are correlated with five of the six migratory traits. Maximum Clock allele length was significantly and negatively associated with spring arrival date. Minimum Adcyap1 allele length was significantly and negatively associated with spring departure date and positively associated with fall arrival date at the wintering grounds. Additionally, we found a significant interaction between Clock and Adcyap1 allele lengths on both spring and fall migratory duration. Adcyap1 heterozygotes also had significantly shorter migration duration in both spring and fall compared to homozygotes. Our results support the growing body of evidence that Clock and Adcyap1 allele lengths are correlated with migratory behaviors in birds

Topics: Ecology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Nature and Landscape Conservation, 3100 Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Year: 2019
DOI identifier: 10.1002/ece3.5436
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