ResearchPad - bird-genetics https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Corticosterone and testosterone treatment influence expression of gene pathways linked to meiotic segregation in preovulatory follicles of the domestic hen]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14547 Decades of work indicate that female birds can control their offspring sex ratios in response to environmental and social cues. In laying hens, hormones administered immediately prior to sex chromosome segregation can exert sex ratio skews, indicating that these hormones may act directly on the germinal disc to influence which sex chromosome is retained in the oocyte and which is discarded into an unfertilizable polar body. We aimed to uncover the gene pathways involved in this process by testing whether treatments with testosterone or corticosterone that were previously shown to influence sex ratios elicit changes in the expression of genes and/or gene pathways involved in the process of meiotic segregation. We injected laying hens with testosterone, corticosterone, or control oil 5h prior to ovulation and collected germinal discs from the F1 preovulatory follicle in each hen 1.5h after injection. We used RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) followed by DESeq2 and gene set enrichment analyses to identify genes and gene pathways that were differentially expressed between germinal discs of control and hormone-treated hens. Corticosterone treatment triggered downregulation of 13 individual genes, as well as enrichment of gene sets related to meiotic spindle organization and chromosome segregation, and additional gene sets that function in ion transport. Testosterone treatment triggered upregulation of one gene, and enrichment of one gene set that functions in nuclear chromosome segregation. This work indicates that corticosterone can be a potent regulator of meiotic processes and provides potential gene targets on which corticosterone and/or testosterone may act to influence offspring sex ratios in birds.

]]>
<![CDATA[Assessment of the genomic prediction accuracy for feed efficiency traits in meat-type chickens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc4ab

Feed represents the major cost of chicken production. Selection for improving feed utilization is a feasible way to reduce feed cost and greenhouse gas emissions. The objectives of this study were to investigate the efficiency of genomic prediction for feed conversion ratio (FCR), residual feed intake (RFI), average daily gain (ADG) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) and to assess the impact of selection for feed efficiency traits FCR and RFI on eviscerating percentage (EP), breast muscle percentage (BMP) and leg muscle percentage (LMP) in meat-type chickens. Genomic prediction was assessed using a 4-fold cross-validation for two validation scenarios. The first scenario was a random family sampling validation (CVF), and the second scenario was a random individual sampling validation (CVR). Variance components were estimated based on the genomic relationship built with single nucleotide polymorphism markers. Genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV) were predicted using a genomic best linear unbiased prediction model. The accuracies of GEBV were evaluated in two ways: the correlation between GEBV and corrected phenotypic value divided by the square root of heritability, i.e., the correlation-based accuracy, and model-based theoretical accuracy. Breeding values were also predicted using a conventional pedigree-based best linear unbiased prediction model in order to compare accuracies of genomic and conventional predictions. The heritability estimates of FCR and RFI were 0.29 and 0.50, respectively. The heritability estimates of ADG, ADFI, EP, BMP and LMP ranged from 0.34 to 0.53. In the CVF scenario, the correlation-based accuracy and the theoretical accuracy of genomic prediction for FCR were slightly higher than those for RFI. The correlation-based accuracies for FCR, RFI, ADG and ADFI were 0.360, 0.284, 0.574 and 0.520, respectively, and the model-based theoretical accuracies were 0.420, 0.414, 0.401 and 0.382, respectively. In the CVR scenario, the correlation-based accuracy and the theoretical accuracy of genomic prediction for FCR was lower than RFI, which was different from the CVF scenario. The correlation-based accuracies for FCR, RFI, ADG and ADFI were 0.449, 0.593, 0.581 and 0.627, respectively, and the model-based theoretical accuracies were 0.577, 0.629, 0.631 and 0.638, respectively. The accuracies of genomic predictions were 0.371 and 0.322 higher than the conventional pedigree-based predictions for the CVF and CVR scenarios, respectively. The genetic correlations of FCR with EP, BMP and LMP were -0.427, -0.156 and -0.338, respectively. The correlations between RFI and the three carcass traits were -0.320, -0.404 and -0.353, respectively. These results indicate that RFI and FCR have a moderate accuracy of genomic prediction. Improving RFI and FCR could be favourable for EP, BMP and LMP. Compared with FCR, which can be improved by selection for ADG in typical meat-type chicken breeding programs, selection for RFI could lead to extra improvement in feed efficiency.

]]>
<![CDATA[Epigenetic inheritance of telomere length in wild birds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f14b0d5eed0c48467a620

Telomere length (TL) predicts health and survival across taxa. Variation in TL between individuals is thought to be largely of genetic origin, but telomere inheritance is unusual, because zygotes already express a TL phenotype, the TL of the parental gametes. Offspring TL changes with paternal age in many species including humans, presumably through age-related TL changes in sperm, suggesting an epigenetic inheritance mechanism. However, present evidence is based on cross-sectional analyses, and age at reproduction is confounded with between-father variation in TL. Furthermore, the quantitative importance of epigenetic TL inheritance is unknown. Using longitudinal data of free-living jackdaws Corvus monedula, we show that erythrocyte TL of subsequent offspring decreases with parental age within individual fathers, but not mothers. By cross-fostering eggs, we confirmed the paternal age effect to be independent of paternal age dependent care. Epigenetic inheritance accounted for a minimum of 34% of the variance in offspring TL that was explained by paternal TL. This is a minimum estimate, because it ignores the epigenetic component in paternal TL variation and sperm TL heterogeneity within ejaculates. Our results indicate an important epigenetic component in the heritability of TL with potential consequences for offspring fitness prospects.

]]>
<![CDATA[Heritability and evolvability of morphological traits of Savannah sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis) breeding in agricultural grasslands]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c466568d5eed0c484519032

Heritability and evolvability estimates of adult traits from free-living bird populations can be used to gauge the ability of populations to respond to selection, but are rare due to difficulties in gathering detailed pedigree information. The capacity to respond to selection is particularly important for species occupying managed habitats such as agricultural grasslands because of the potential for humans to accidentally influence traits. We calculated heritability and evolvability of six morphological traits in a population of Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis) breeding in a large agricultural landscape. We used microsatellite analysis to determine a genetic pedigree, revealing a high level of extra-pair paternity (63%) within a relatively philopatric population. For the entire population, heritabilities varied from low to high (bill width: 0.160±0.182 to tarsus length: 0.651±0.155), while evolvabilities were low across all traits (wing length: 0.035±0.013 to body mass: 0.066±0.106). Our results indicate that any directional selection from agricultural management practices will produce negligible changes in basic morphometrics of Savannah sparrow populations occupying the Champlain Valley of Vermont, USA.

]]>
<![CDATA[Geographic patterns of mtDNA and Z-linked sequence variation in the Common Chiffchaff and the ‘chiffchaff complex’]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390b90d5eed0c48491d417

The Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita is an abundant, polytypic Palearctic bird. Validity of some of its subspecies is controversial and birds from some parts of the species range remain unclassified taxonomically. The relationships among populations from different geographic areas have not been sufficiently explored with molecular data. In this study we analyzed the relationships among the four species in the ‘chiffchaff complex’ (Common Chiffchaff, Iberian Chiffchaff P. ibericus, Canary Islands Chiffchaff P. canariensis and Mountain Chiffchaff P. sindianus), and the patterns of intraspecific geographic variation in the mtDNA ND2 gene and intron 9 of the Z-linked aconitase gene (ACO1I9) across the Common Chiffchaff range, including a recently discovered population breeding on Mt. Hermon (Anti-Lebanon mountains). Our data supported the monophyly of the chiffchaff complex and its current systematics at the species level. Within the Common Chiffchaff, the Siberian race P. c. tristis was the most differentiated subspecies and may represent a separate or incipient species. Other Common Chiffchaff subspecies also were differentiated in their mtDNA, however, lineages of neighboring subspecies formed wide zones of introgression. The Mt. Hermon population was of mixed genetic origin but contained some birds with novel unique lineage that could not be assigned to known subspecies. All Common Chiffchaff lineages diverged at the end of the Ionian stage of Pleistocene. Lineage sorting of ACO1I9 alleles was not as complete as that of mtDNA. Chiffchaff species were mostly distinct at ACO1I9, except the Common and Canary Islands Chiffchaffs that shared multiple alleles. An AMOVA identified geographic structure in Common Chiffchaff ACO1I9 variation that was broadly consistent with that of mtDNA ND2 gene. The genetic and other data suggest the chiffchaff complex to be a group of evolutionarily young taxa that represent a paradigm of ‘species evolution in action’ from intergrading subspecies through to apparently complete biological speciation.

]]>
<![CDATA[Effect of barriers and distance on song, genetic, and morphological divergence in the highland endemic Timberline Wren (Thryorchilus browni, Troglodytidae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2544e5d5eed0c48442bad2

Populations may become isolated by distance, geographic barriers or both. Isolated populations often diverge in behavioral, morphological and genetic traits as a result of reduced inter-population gene flow. Highland species commonly present naturally fragmented distributions that confine populations to the highest mountain peaks, isolated by mountain passes and distance. The endemic Timberline Wren (Thryorchilus browni) inhabits the highlands of the Talamanca mountain range, including western Panama, and the highest peak in the Central Volcanic mountain range of Costa Rica. Using microsatellites and song recordings we studied the effect of a geographic barrier and distance on song, genetic and morphological divergence among four populations in Costa Rica. A lowland mountain pass resulted in the largest genetic, vocal, and morphological (bill length) differences among populations, likely due to reduce the gene flow. Cultural drift and assortative mating by females selecting songs from their own population likely accentuates the effect of isolation and limited gene flow between populations. This pattern of population divergence has been found in other Neotropical highland birds, but over larger geographical scales. We conclude that mountain passes and distance both reduce gene flow between populations in recently-isolated highland species with restricted distributions.

]]>
<![CDATA[Tissue tropisms opt for transmissible reassortants during avian and swine influenza A virus co-infection in swine]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ed78ed5eed0c484f143b4

Genetic reassortment between influenza A viruses (IAVs) facilitate emergence of pandemic strains, and swine are proposed as a “mixing vessel” for generating reassortants of avian and mammalian IAVs that could be of risk to mammals, including humans. However, how a transmissible reassortant emerges in swine are not well understood. Genomic analyses of 571 isolates recovered from nasal wash samples and respiratory tract tissues of a group of co-housed pigs (influenza-seronegative, avian H1N1 IAV–infected, and swine H3N2 IAV–infected pigs) identified 30 distinct genotypes of reassortants. Viruses recovered from lower respiratory tract tissues had the largest genomic diversity, and those recovered from turbinates and nasal wash fluids had the least. Reassortants from lower respiratory tracts had the largest variations in growth kinetics in respiratory tract epithelial cells, and the cold temperature in swine nasal cells seemed to select the type of reassortant viruses shed by the pigs. One reassortant in nasal wash samples was consistently identified in upper, middle, and lower respiratory tract tissues, and it was confirmed to be transmitted efficiently between pigs. Study findings suggest that, during mixed infections of avian and swine IAVs, genetic reassortments are likely to occur in the lower respiratory track, and tissue tropism is an important factor selecting for a transmissible reassortant.

]]>
<![CDATA[Limited Dispersal and Significant Fine - Scale Genetic Structure in a Tropical Montane Parrot Species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da61ab0ee8fa60b90f2a

Tropical montane ecosystems are biodiversity hotspots harbouring many endemics that are confined to specific habitat types within narrow altitudinal ranges. While deforestation put these ecosystems under threat, we still lack knowledge about how heterogeneous environments like the montane tropics promote population connectivity and persistence. We investigated the fine-scale genetic structure of the two largest subpopulations of the endangered El Oro parakeet (Pyrrhura orcesi) endemic to the Ecuadorian Andes. Specifically, we assessed the genetic divergence between three sites separated by small geographic distances but characterized by a heterogeneous habitat structure. Although geographical distances between sites are small (3–17 km), we found genetic differentiation between all sites. Even though dispersal capacity is generally high in parrots, our findings indicate that dispersal is limited even on this small geographic scale. Individual genotype assignment revealed similar genetic divergence across a valley (~ 3 km distance) compared to a continuous mountain range (~ 13 km distance). Our findings suggest that geographic barriers promote genetic divergence even on small spatial scales in this endangered endemic species. These results may have important implications for many other threatened and endemic species, particularly given the upslope shift of species predicted from climate change.

]]>
<![CDATA[Novel avian paramyxovirus (APMV-15) isolated from a migratory bird in South America]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf689

A novel avian paramyxovirus (APMV) isolated from a migratory bird cloacal swab obtained during active surveillance in April 2012 in the Lagoa do Peixe National Park, Rio Grande do Sul state, South of Brazil was biologically and genetically characterized. The nucleotide sequence of the full viral genome was completed using a next-generation sequencing approach. The genome was 14,952 nucleotides (nt) long, with six genes (3’-NP-P-M-F-HN-L-5’) encoding 7 different proteins, typical of APMV. The fusion (F) protein gene of isolate RS-1177 contained 1,707 nucleotides in a single open reading frame encoding a protein of 569 amino acids. The F protein cleavage site contained two basic amino acids (VPKER↓L), typical of avirulent strains. Phylogenetic analysis of the whole genome indicated that the virus is related to APMV-10, -2 and -8, with 60.1% nucleotide sequence identity to the closest APMV-10 virus, 58.7% and 58.5% identity to the closest APMV-8 and APMV-2 genome, respectively, and less than 52% identity to representatives of the other APMVs groups. Such distances are comparable to the distances observed among other previously identified APMVs serotypes. These results suggest that unclassified/calidris_fuscicollis/Brazil/RS-1177/2012 is the prototype strain of a new APMV serotype, APMV-15.

]]>
<![CDATA[Comparative transcriptomics of genetically divergent lines of chickens in response to Marek’s disease virus challenge at cytolytic phase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5dab0ee8fa60be0409

Marek’s disease (MD), caused by Marek’s disease virus (MDV), remains an economically significant threat to the poultry industry worldwide. Genetic resistance to MD is a promising alternative strategy to augment current control measures (vaccination and management). However, only a few functional genes reportedly conferring MD resistance have been identified. Here, we performed a comparative transcriptomics analysis of two highly inbred yet genetically divergent lines of chickens (line 63 and 72) that are resistant and susceptible to MD, respectively, in response to a very virulent plus strain of MDV (vv+MDV) challenge at cytolytic phase. A total of 203 DEGs in response to MDV challenge were identified in the two lines. Of these, 96 DEGs were in common for both lines, in addition to 36 and 71 DEGs that were specific for line 63 and 72, respectively. Functional enrichment analysis results showed the DEGs were significantly enriched in GO terms and pathways associated with immune response. Especially, the four DEGs, FGA, ALB, FN1, and F13A1 that reportedly facilitate virus invasion or immunosuppression, were found to be significantly up-regulated in the susceptible line 72 but down-regulated in the resistant line 63 birds. These results provide new resources for future studies to further elucidate the genetic mechanism conferring MD resistance.

]]>
<![CDATA[High Prevalence and Putative Lineage Maintenance of Avian Coronaviruses in Scandinavian Waterfowl]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e7ab0ee8fa60b6bbe1

Coronaviruses (CoVs) are found in a wide variety of wild and domestic animals, and constitute a risk for zoonotic and emerging infectious disease. In poultry, the genetic diversity, evolution, distribution and taxonomy of some coronaviruses have been well described, but little is known about the features of CoVs in wild birds. In this study we screened 764 samples from 22 avian species of the orders Anseriformes and Charadriiformes in Sweden collected in 2006/2007 for CoV, with an overall CoV prevalence of 18.7%, which is higher than many other wild bird surveys. The highest prevalence was found in the diving ducks—mainly Greater Scaup (Aythya marila; 51.5%)—and the dabbling duck Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos; 19.2%). Sequences from two of the Greater Scaup CoV fell into an infrequently detected lineage, shared only with a Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) CoV. Coronavirus sequences from Mallards in this study were highly similar to CoV sequences from the sample species and location in 2011, suggesting long-term maintenance in this population. A single Black-headed Gull represented the only positive sample from the order Charadriiformes. Globally, Anas species represent the largest fraction of avian CoV sequences, and there seems to be no host species, geographical or temporal structure. To better understand the eitiology, epidemiology and ecology of these viruses more systematic surveillance of wild birds and subsequent sequencing of detected CoV is imperative.

]]>
<![CDATA[Comparative Quantitative Studies on the Microvasculature of the Heart of a Highly Selected Meat-Type and a Wild-Type Turkey Line]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcc56

In this study the macroscopic and microscopic structure of the heart of a fast growing, meat-type turkey line (British United turkeys BUT Big 6) and a wild-type turkey line (Canadian Wild turkey) were compared. At 8 and 16 weeks of age, 10 birds of each genotype and sex were sampled. The body mass and heart mass of the meat-type turkey both increased at a faster rate than those of the wild-type turkey. However in both turkey lines, the relative heart mass decreased slightly with age, the decrease was statistically significant only in the male turkeys. Furthermore meat-type turkeys had a significantly (p < 0.01) lower relative heart mass and relative thickness of the left ventricle compared to the wild-type turkeys of the same age. The wild-type turkeys showed no significant change in the size of cardiomyocytes (cross sectional area and diameter) from 8 weeks to 16 weeks. In contrast, the size of cardiomyocytes increased significantly (p < 0.001) with age in the meat-type turkeys. The number of capillaries in the left ventricular wall increased significantly (p < 0.001) in wild-type turkeys from 2351 per mm2 at the age of 8 weeks to 2843 per mm2 at 16 weeks. However, in the meat-type turkeys there were no significant changes, capillary numbers being 2989 per mm2 at age 8 weeks and 2915 per mm2 at age 16 weeks. Correspondingly the area occupied by capillaries in the myocardium increased in wild-type turkeys from 8.59% at the age of 8 weeks to 9.15% at 16 weeks, whereas in meat-type turkeys this area decreased from 10.4% at 8 weeks to 9.95% at 16 weeks. Our results indicate a mismatch in development between body mass and heart mass and a compromised cardiac capillary density and architecture in the meat-type turkeys in comparison to the wild-type turkeys.

]]>
<![CDATA[Biogeography of Speciation of Two Sister Species of Neotropical Amazona (Aves, Psittaciformes) Based on Mitochondrial Sequence Data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da12ab0ee8fa60b79fd1

Coalescent theory provides powerful models for population genetic inference and is now increasingly important in estimates of divergence times and speciation research. We use molecular data and methods based on coalescent theory to investigate whether genetic evidence supports the hypothesis of A. pretrei and A. tucumana as separate species and whether genetic data allow us to assess which allopatric model seems to better explain the diversification process in these taxa. We sampled 13 A. tucumana from two provinces in northern Argentina and 28 A. pretrei from nine localities of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. A 491 bp segment of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase I was evaluated using the haplotype network and phylogenetic methods. The divergence time and other demographic quantities were estimated using the isolation and migration model based on coalescent theory. The network and phylogenetic reconstructions showed similar results, supporting reciprocal monophyly for these two taxa. The divergence time of lineage separation was estimated to be approximately 1.3 million years ago, which corresponds to the lower Pleistocene. Our results enforce the current taxonomic status for these two Amazon species. They also support that A. pretrei and A. tucumana diverged with little or no gene flow approximately 1.3 million years ago, most likely after the establishment of a small population in the Southern Yungas forest by dispersion of a few founders from the A. pretrei ancestral population. This process may have been favored by habitat corridors formed in hot and humid periods of the Quaternary. Considering that these two species are considered threatened, the results were evaluated for their implications for the conservation of these two species.

]]>
<![CDATA[Three IgH isotypes, IgM, IgA and IgY are expressed in Gentoo penguin and zebra finch]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc610

Previous studies on a limited number of birds suggested that the IgD-encoding gene was absent in birds. However, one of our recent studies showed that the gene was definitely expressed in the ostrich and emu. Interestingly, we also identified subclass diversification of IgM and IgY in these two birds. To better understand immunoglobulin genes in birds, in this study, we analyzed the immunoglobulin heavy chain genes in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) and Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua), belonging respectively to the order Passeriformes, the most successful bird order in terms of species diversity and numbers, and Sphenisciformes, a relatively primitive avian order. Similar to the results obtained in chickens and ducks, only three genes encoding immunoglobulin heavy chain isotypes, IgM, IgA and IgY, were identified in both species. Besides, we detected a transcript encoding a short membrane-bound IgA lacking the last two CH exons in the Gentoo penguin. We did not find any evidence supporting the presence of IgD gene or subclass diversification of IgM/IgY in penguin or zebra finch. The obtained data in our study provide more insights into the immunoglobulin heavy chain genes in birds and may help to better understand the evolution of immunoglobulin genes in tetrapods.

]]>
<![CDATA[Presence of Vaccine-Derived Newcastle Disease Viruses in Wild Birds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da34ab0ee8fa60b85a27

Our study demonstrates the repeated isolation of vaccine-derived Newcastle disease viruses from different species of wild birds across four continents from 1997 through 2014. The data indicate that at least 17 species from ten avian orders occupying different habitats excrete vaccine-derived Newcastle disease viruses. The most frequently reported isolates were detected among individuals in the order Columbiformes (n = 23), followed in frequency by the order Anseriformes (n = 13). Samples were isolated from both free-ranging (n = 47) and wild birds kept in captivity (n = 7). The number of recovered vaccine-derived viruses corresponded with the most widely utilized vaccines, LaSota (n = 28) and Hitchner B1 (n = 19). Other detected vaccine-derived viruses resembled the PHY-LMV2 and V4 vaccines, with five and two cases, respectively. These results and the ubiquitous and synanthropic nature of wild pigeons highlight their potential role as indicator species for the presence of Newcastle disease virus of low virulence in the environment. The reverse spillover of live agents from domestic animals to wildlife as a result of the expansion of livestock industries employing massive amounts of live virus vaccines represent an underappreciated and poorly studied effect of human activity on wildlife.

]]>
<![CDATA[Conservation genetics of the capercaillie in Poland - Delineation of conservation units]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcc3d

The capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) is one of Poland's most endangered bird species, with an estimated population of 380–500 individuals in four isolated areas. To study these natural populations in Poland further, more than 900 non-invasive genetic samples were collected, along with samples from 59 birds representing large, continuous populations in Sweden and Russia; and from two centres in Poland breeding capercaillie. Microsatellite polymorphism at nine loci was then analysed to estimate within-population genetic diversity and genetic differentiation among populations. The results confirmed that isolation of populations and recent decreases in their sizes have reduced genetic diversity among capercaillie in Poland, with all the country’s natural populations found to be experiencing the genetic after-effects of demographic bottlenecks. The results of analyses of genetic differentiation and structure further suggest the presence of a 'lowland' cluster (encompassing birds of the Augustowska and Solska Primaeval Forests in Poland, and of Sweden and Russia), and a Carpathian cluster. Capercaillie from Sweden and Russia are also found to differ markedly. The Polish lowland populations seem more closely related to birds from Scandinavia. Our genetic analysis also indicates that the stocks at breeding centres are of a high genetic diversity effectively reflecting the origins of founder individuals, though identification of ancestry requires further study in the case of some birds.

Overall, the results sustain the conclusion that the Polish populations of capercaillie from the Carpathians and the lowlands should be treated as independent Management Units (MUs). This is to say that the breeding lines associated with these two sources should be maintained separately at breeding centres. The high level of genetic differentiation of birds from the Solska Primaeval Forest suggests that this population should also be assigned the status of independent MU.

]]>
<![CDATA[Colonial, more widely distributed and less abundant bird species undergo wider population fluctuations independent of their population trend]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc7bf

Understanding temporal variability in population size is important for conservation biology because wide population fluctuations increase the risk of extinction. Previous studies suggested that certain ecological, demographic, life-history and genetic characteristics of species might be related to the degree of their population fluctuations. We checked whether that was the case in a large sample of 231 European breeding bird species while taking a number of potentially confounding factors such as population trends or similarities among species due to common descent into account. When species-specific characteristics were analysed one by one, the magnitude of population fluctuations was positively related to coloniality, habitat, total breeding range, heterogeneity of breeding distribution and natal dispersal, and negatively related to urbanisation, abundance, relative number of subspecies, parasitism and proportion of polymorphic loci. However, when abundance (population size) was included in the analyses of the other parameters, only coloniality, habitat, total breeding range and abundance remained significantly related to population fluctuations. The analysis including all these predictors simultaneously showed that population size fluctuated more in colonial, less abundant species with larger breeding ranges. Other parameters seemed to be related to population fluctuations only because of their association with abundance or coloniality. The unexpected positive relationship between population fluctuations and total breeding range did not seem to be mediated by abundance. The link between population fluctuations and coloniality suggests a previously unrecognized cost of coloniality. The negative relationship between population size and population fluctuations might be explained by at least three types of non-mutually exclusive stochastic processes: demographic, environmental and genetic stochasticity. Measurement error in population indices, which was unknown, may have contributed to the negative relationship between population size and fluctuations, but apparently only to a minor extent. The association between population size and fluctuations suggests that populations might be stabilized by increasing population size.

]]>
<![CDATA[Genetically Diverse Low Pathogenicity Avian Influenza A Virus Subtypes Co-Circulate among Poultry in Bangladesh]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da11ab0ee8fa60b79c03

Influenza virus surveillance, poultry outbreak investigations and genomic sequencing were assessed to understand the ecology and evolution of low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) A viruses in Bangladesh from 2007 to 2013. We analyzed 506 avian specimens collected from poultry in live bird markets and backyard flocks to identify influenza A viruses. Virus isolation-positive specimens (n = 50) were subtyped and their coding-complete genomes were sequenced. The most frequently identified subtypes among LPAI isolates were H9N2, H11N3, H4N6, and H1N1. Less frequently detected subtypes included H1N3, H2N4, H3N2, H3N6, H3N8, H4N2, H5N2, H6N1, H6N7, and H7N9. Gene sequences were compared to publicly available sequences using phylogenetic inference approaches. Among the 14 subtypes identified, the majority of viral gene segments were most closely related to poultry or wild bird viruses commonly found in Southeast Asia, Europe, and/or northern Africa. LPAI subtypes were distributed over several geographic locations in Bangladesh, and surface and internal protein gene segments clustered phylogenetically with a diverse number of viral subtypes suggesting extensive reassortment among these LPAI viruses. H9N2 subtype viruses differed from other LPAI subtypes because genes from these viruses consistently clustered together, indicating this subtype is enzootic in Bangladesh. The H9N2 strains identified in Bangladesh were phylogenetically and antigenically related to previous human-derived H9N2 viruses detected in Bangladesh representing a potential source for human infection. In contrast, the circulating LPAI H5N2 and H7N9 viruses were both phylogenetically and antigenically unrelated to H5 viruses identified previously in humans in Bangladesh and H7N9 strains isolated from humans in China. In Bangladesh, domestic poultry sold in live bird markets carried a wide range of LPAI virus subtypes and a high diversity of genotypes. These findings, combined with the seven year timeframe of sampling, indicate a continuous circulation of these viruses in the country.

]]>
<![CDATA[Maternally Derived Egg Hormones, Antibodies and Antimicrobial Proteins: Common and Different Pathways of Maternal Effects in Japanese Quail]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2cab0ee8fa60b82cbe

Avian eggs contain a variety of maternally-derived substances that can influence the development and performance of offspring. The levels of these egg compounds vary in relation to environmental and genetic factors, but little is known about whether there are correlative links between maternal substances in the egg underlying common and different pathways of maternal effects. In the present study, we investigated genetically determined variability and mutually adjusted deposition of sex hormones (testosterone-T, androstenedione-A4 and progesterone-P4), antibodies (IgY) and antimicrobial proteins (lysozyme) in eggs of Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). We used different genetic lines that were independently selected for yolk T concentrations, duration of tonic immobility and social reinstatement behaviour, since both selections for behavioural traits (fearfulness and social motivation, respectively) produced considerable correlative responses in yolk androgen levels. A higher selection potential was found for increased rather than decreased yolk T concentrations, suggesting that there is a physiological minimum in egg T levels. Line differences in yolk IgY concentrations were manifested within each selection experiment, but no consistent inter-line pattern between yolk IgY and T was revealed. On the other hand, a consistent inverse inter-line pattern was recorded between yolk IgY and P4 in both selections for behavioural traits. In addition, selections for contrasting fearfulness and social motivation were associated with changes in albumen lysozyme concentrations and an inverse inter-line pattern between the deposition of yolk IgY and albumen lysozyme was found in lines selected for the level of social motivation. Thus, our results demonstrate genetically-driven changes in deposition of yolk T, P4, antibodies and albumen lysozyme in the egg. This genetic variability can partially explain mutually adjusted maternal deposition of sex hormones and immune-competent molecules but the inconsistent pattern of inter-line differences across all selections indicates that there are other underlying mechanisms, which require further studies.

]]>
<![CDATA[A Comprehensive Analysis of the Phylogeny, Genomic Organization and Expression of Immunoglobulin Light Chain Genes in Alligator sinensis, an Endangered Reptile Species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa2ab0ee8fa60ba661a

Crocodilians are evolutionarily distinct reptiles that are distantly related to lizards and are thought to be the closest relatives of birds. Compared with birds and mammals, few studies have investigated the Ig light chain of crocodilians. Here, employing an Alligator sinensis genomic bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library and available genome data, we characterized the genomic organization of the Alligator sinensis IgL gene loci. The Alligator sinensis has two IgL isotypes, λ and κ, the same as Anolis carolinensis. The Igλ locus contains 6 Cλ genes, each preceded by a Jλ gene, and 86 potentially functional Vλ genes upstream of (Jλ-Cλ)n. The Igκ locus contains a single Cκ gene, 6 Jκs and 62 functional Vκs. All VL genes are classified into a total of 31 families: 19 Vλ families and 12 Vκ families. Based on an analysis of the chromosomal location of the light chain genes among mammals, birds, lizards and frogs, the data further confirm that there are two IgL isotypes in the Alligator sinensis: Igλ and Igκ. By analyzing the cloned Igλ/κ cDNA, we identified a biased usage pattern of V families in the expressed Vλ and Vκ. An analysis of the junctions of the recombined VJ revealed the presence of N and P nucleotides in both expressed λ and κ sequences. Phylogenetic analysis of the V genes revealed V families shared by mammals, birds, reptiles and Xenopus, suggesting that these conserved V families are orthologous and have been retained during the evolution of IgL. Our data suggest that the Alligator sinensis IgL gene repertoire is highly diverse and complex and provide insight into immunoglobulin gene evolution in vertebrates.

]]>