Affordable Access

deepdyve-link
Publisher Website

Gradual evolution towards flightlessness in steamer ducks.

Authors
  • Campagna, Leonardo1, 2
  • McCracken, Kevin G3
  • Lovette, Irby J1, 2
  • 1 Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 14850.
  • 2 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 14853.
  • 3 Department of Biology, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and Human Genetics and Genomics, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, 33146.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Evolution
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2019
Volume
73
Issue
9
Pages
1916–1926
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/evo.13758
PMID: 31106403
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Flightlessness in birds is the product of changes in suites of characters-including increased body size and reduced anterior limbs-that have evolved repeatedly and independently under similar ecological conditions (generally insularity). It remains unknown whether this phenotypic convergence extends to the genomic level, partially because many losses of flight occurred long ago (such as in penguins or ratites), thus complicating the study of the genetic pathways to flightlessness. Here, we use genome sequencing to study the evolution of flightlessness in a group of ducks that are current and dynamic exemplars of this major functional transition. These recently diverged Tachyeres steamer ducks differ in their ability to fly: one species is predominantly flighted and three are mainly flightless. Through a genome-wide association analysis, we identify two narrow candidate genomic regions implicated in the morphological changes that led to flightlessness, and reconstruct the number of times flightlessness has evolved in Tachyeres. The strongest association is with DYRK1A, a gene that when knocked out in mice leads to alterations in growth and bone morphogenesis. These findings, together with phylogenetic and demographic analyses, imply that the genomic changes leading to flightlessness in Tachyeres may have evolved once, and that this trait remains functionally polymorphic in two species. © 2019 The Author(s). Evolution © 2019 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times