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Heredity (Edinb). 2013 May;110(5):457-65. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2012.114. Epub 2013 Jan 9.

Multilocus phylogeography (mitochondrial, autosomal and Z-chromosomal loci) and genetic consequence of long-distance male dispersal in Black-throated tits (Aegithalos concinnus).

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.


Multilocus data from the different genomes are essential to understand the phylogeographic history of species, particularly when a species has the male-biased dispersal pattern. Although Black-throated tits (Aegithalos concinnus) are socially monogamous and cooperatively breeding birds, limited observational data suggested that males may have the ability of long-distance dispersal. We have previously detected three highly supported mitochondrial populations within two subspecies of Black-throated tits (A. c. concinnus and A. c. talifuensis). Here, we used several genetic markers with different inheritance patterns to gain insights about their phylogeographic history. Phylogenetic and individual-based Bayesian analysis showed weak geographical structure amongst nuclear sequences (autosomal and Z-chromosomal loci). Coalescent analysis revealed high levels of gene flow among mitochondrial populations, even between allopatric populations. These results strongly suggested that male-biased gene flow was responsible for the discordant cytonuclear phylogeographic patterns. Consistent with expectation on the genetic consequence of long-distance male dispersal, mantel tests revealed a significant pattern of isolation by distance for mitochondrial sequences, but failed to provide a similar pattern for nuclear genes within a continuous population; female Black-throated tits showed a stronger but not significantly different relationship of isolation by distance than males when using mitochondrial DNA alone. We discussed the contribution of male juveniles with delayed dispersal to the non-significantly different IBD patterns between sexes. Our results using multilocus genetic data revealed aspects of the complex evolutionary history of Black-throated tits and the important role of long-distance male dispersal in the population structuring.

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