Meeting Abstract

P1.133  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Candidate genes and rapidly evolving migratory behavior in the genus Junco. PETERSON, M.P.; ATWELL, J.W.; MILA, B.; ABOLINS-ABOLS, M.*; KETTERSON, E.D.; Indiana University, Bloomington; Indiana University, Bloomington; Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid; Indiana University, Bloomington; Indiana University, Bloomington mabolins@indiana.edu

Avian migration has fascinated behavioral biologists for generations, yet much remains to be learned about the genetic and neural bases for variation in its timing and occurrence. Greater insight into the molecular and neural mechanisms associated with migratory behavior will help to explain rapid evolution of migration and allow for more informed approaches to problems in conservation. A recent study by Mueller, Kempenaers and colleagues demonstrated that repeat length polymorphism in the gene ADCYAP1 explains part of population variation in migratory behavior of the old-world warbler Sylvia atricapilla. To test the generality of this finding, we are investigating whether polymorphisms in ADCYAP1, as well as other candidate genes, help to explain variation in migratory behavior of the North American sparrow genus Junco (J. hyemalis & J. phaeonotus). Additional candidate genes were selected by surveying the recently completed J. hyemalis transcriptome for genes that contain repeat length polymorphisms and regulate key physiological or behavioral aspects associated with migration. We are examining DNA from 6 sub-species of Junco that are thought to have diverged from one another in the past 10,000 years. These subspecies represent a full spectrum of migratory variation, including sedentary populations and altitudinal, regional, and long-distance migrants. Our goals are to determine whether repeat length polymorphisms of candidate genes co-vary with migratory behavior of the different sub-species and to evaluate whether similar genetic mechanisms underlie behavioral diversity within different avian lineages.