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mtDNA haplotypes differ in their probability of being eliminated by a mass die-off in an abundant seabird

TitlemtDNA haplotypes differ in their probability of being eliminated by a mass die-off in an abundant seabird
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsDrovetski, SV, Kitaysky, AS, Mode, NA, Zink, RM, Iqbal, U, Barger, C
JournalHeredity
Volume109
Pagination29–33
Abstract

In this study, we take advantage of a natural experiment–-a 2004 mass die-off of the Common Murre in Alaska to determinewhether closely related mtDNA haplotypes differ in their probability of being eliminated during such a short term but a markedevent removing hundreds of thousands of individuals. We sequenced complete mtDNA ND2 gene (1041 bp) for 168 CommonMurres sampled from seven breeding colonies across Alaska before the 2004 die-off and 127 dead murres washed ashoreduring the die-off. We found little mtDNA variation and lack of geographical structuring among the seven Common Murrebreeding colonies in Alaska. A comparison of the single-dominant mtDNA haplotype’s frequency between live murres sampled onbreeding colonies before the die-off (73.2%; 95% confidence interval 66.3–79.9%) and dead murres sampled during the die-off(59.1%; 95% confidence interval 50.4–67.4%; Fisher’s exact P¼0.01) showed that carriers of the dominant haplotype weresignificantly less likely to die than carriers of other haplotypes. At the same time, the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymoussubstitutions did not differ between live (10:35) and dead birds (18:34; Fisher’s exact P¼0.26), indicating that nonsynonymoussubstitutions were as likely to be eliminated as synonymous substitutions. These results are consistent with thepossibility of positive selection on the dominant mtDNA haplotype during the die-off.Heredity (2012) 109, 29–33; doi:10.1038/hdy.2012.4; published online 22 February 2012

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