Evol Ecol Res 14: 353-360 (2012) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
Correlates of genetic diversity in bird nuclear genes
Tangjie Zhang and Qing Liu
College of Veterinary Medicine, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, China
Correspondence: Tangjie Zhang, College of Veterinary Medicine, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China.
Background: The neutral theory of evolution proposes that diversity is the result of the accumulation of neutral substitutions. The term ‘neutral’ refers to a gene (or a genomic locus) that has no or almost no effect on fitness. The main hypotheses that would account for neutral genetic diversity are related to life-history traits.
Question: Is there a relationship between nuclear neutral diversity in birds (class Aves) and their life-history traits, including generation time, metabolic rate, longevity, and body mass?
Data: 752 groups of polymorphisms from 104 nuclear genes in 297 species of Aves belonging to 53 genera and 15 families. Data were taken from the Polymorphix database and the Popset database of GenBank.
Search method: We used logistic regression analysis and phylogenetic regression of independent variables to analyse the relationship between Watterson’s estimator (θw) of weighted neutral sites and life-history variables, including generation time, body mass, and maximum longevity. We performed multiple regression analysis of multiple traits and natural selection efficiency. We measured natural selection efficiency as θn /θz + i .
Conclusions: Aves nuclear neutral diversity, represented by the mutation parameter, θw, was significantly negatively correlated with generation time. The other variables – metabolic rate, longevity, and body mass – did not correlate with nuclear neutral variation.
Keywords: birds, generation time, molecular evolution, mutation, nuclear genes.
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