de Greef E, Suh A, Thorstensen MJ, Delmore KE, Fraser KC
Sci Rep 13 (1) 2437 [2023-02-10; online 2023-02-10]
The impact of climate change on spring phenology poses risks to migratory birds, as migration timing is controlled predominantly by endogenous mechanisms. Despite recent advances in our understanding of the underlying genetic basis of migration timing, the ways that migration timing phenotypes in wild individuals may map to specific genomic regions requires further investigation. We examined the genetic architecture of migration timing in a long-distance migratory songbird (purple martin, Progne subis subis) by integrating genomic data with an extensive dataset of direct migratory tracks. A moderate to large amount of variance in spring migration arrival timing was explained by genomics (proportion of phenotypic variation explained by genomics = 0.74; polygenic score R2 = 0.24). On chromosome 1, a region that was differentiated between migration timing phenotypes contained genes that could facilitate nocturnal flights and act as epigenetic modifiers. Overall, these results advance our understanding of the genomic underpinnings of migration timing.