Genomic architecture of migration timing in a long‑distance migratory songbird

Authors: Evelien de Greef, Alexander Suh, Matt J. Thorstensen, Kira E. Delmore, & Kevin C. Fraser

Year: 2023

Publication: Scientific Reports

Publication Link:

Abstract: 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.

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