Genome-wide association mapping in a wild avian population identifies a link between genetic and phenotypic variation in a life-history trait.

Husby A, Kawakami T, Rönnegård L, Smeds L, Ellegren H, Qvarnström A

Proc. Biol. Sci. 282 (1806) 20150156 [2015-05-07; online 2015-04-04]

Understanding the genetic basis of traits involved in adaptation is a major challenge in evolutionary biology but remains poorly understood. Here, we use genome-wide association mapping using a custom 50 k single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array in a natural population of collared flycatchers to examine the genetic basis of clutch size, an important life-history trait in many animal species. We found evidence for an association on chromosome 18 where one SNP significant at the genome-wide level explained 3.9% of the phenotypic variance. We also detected two suggestive quantitative trait loci (QTLs) on chromosomes 9 and 26. Fitness differences among genotypes were generally weak and not significant, although there was some indication of a sex-by-genotype interaction for lifetime reproductive success at the suggestive QTL on chromosome 26. This implies that sexual antagonism may play a role in maintaining genetic variation at this QTL. Our findings provide candidate regions for a classic avian life-history trait that will be useful for future studies examining the molecular and cellular function of, as well as evolutionary mechanisms operating at, these loci.

NGI Uppsala (SNP&SEQ Technology Platform) [Service]

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PubMed 25833857

DOI 10.1098/rspb.2015.0156

Crossref 10.1098/rspb.2015.0156

Dryad 10.5061/dryad.SM1VT

rspb.2015.0156

pmc PMC4426624