Resolving genetic relationships with microsatellite markers: a parentage testing system for the swallow Hirundo rustica

Authors

  • C. R. PRIMMER,

    1. Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala Biomedical Centre, Box 597, S-751 24 Uppsala, Sweden
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  • A. P. MØLLER,

    1. *Zoological Institute, Copenhagen University, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • H. ELLEGREN

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala Biomedical Centre, Box 597, S-751 24 Uppsala, Sweden
      Tel.: +46 18 174903. Fax: +46 18 504461. E-mail: Hans.Ellegren@bmc.uu.se
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  • This study is the first in a series where microsatellite markers will be used for analysing parentage in swallows, as a means to study mechanisms of sexual selection. The project is a collaboration between Anders P a p Mdler at the University of Copenhagen who has a keen interest in sexual selection theory, and Craig Primmer and Hans Ellegren at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sdences who have a general interest in evolutionary and population genetics.

Tel.: +46 18 174903. Fax: +46 18 504461. E-mail: Hans.Ellegren@bmc.uu.se

Abstract

Eight polymorphic microsatellite markers from the swallow were isolated and characterized. Extraordinary variability was revealed at the HrU6 locus with 45 different alleles scored among 46 unrelated individuals. The probability that the same genotype combination would occur in two random and unrelated individuals at six selected loci was as low as 1.3 × 10-8 and the combined exclusion probability was 0.9996. Stable Mendelian inheritance was observed in about 1000 meioses. No significant linkage was revealed and for almost all combinations of marker-pairs, linkage closer than 5 cM could be excluded. At two loci, null (nonamplifying) alleles were encountered. Thirteen (30%) extra-pair offspring were identified in 5 (56%) broods when applying the marker set on a nearly complete swallow colony. We were able to identify a single male from the other families in the colony as the most likely father for nine of the 13 extra-pair offspring.

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