A genetic polymorphism in the sex-linked ATP5A1 gene is associated with individual fitness in Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla)


  • Field sampling was funded by cooperative grants to the University of Missouri from the U.S. Forest Service's International Institute of Tropical Forestry. Lab work was conducted using new investigator funds provided to L. S. E. by the University of Missouri.

Judith D. Toms, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211. Tel: +1-573-882-4854; Fax: +1-573-882-0123; E-mail: jdthv6@mail.missouri.edu


While testing genetic sexing techniques in Ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla), we found a genetic polymorphism in the ATP5A1 gene in 38% of individuals. The Z′ allele included changes in both intronic and exonic portions of the sequenced region, but there was no evidence that this changed the resulting ATP synthase product. Males that had one or more copies of this allele had higher relative body mass (mass corrected for size) than other genotypes. This allele was unrelated to stable isotope signatures, and so was not a useful predictor of latitude within the eastern portion of the Ovenbird breeding range. Future studies are needed to determine whether this polymorphism may be a useful geographic marker. This study is the first to link polymorphisms in the sex-linked ATP5A1 gene with fitness effects.