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Lack of genetic polymorphism among peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus of Fiji

September 1, 2011

We compared levels of genetic diversity and isolation among peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus from two South Pacific island complexes (Fiji and Vanuatu: F. p. nesiotes), relative to other island and mainland populations. Fragment data from 12 microsatellite loci and sequence information from the control region of the mitochondrial DNA indicated levels of genetic variation in the South Pacific populations were lower than other island and mainland populations. Indeed, diversity varied from extremely low (Vanuatu) to completely absent (Fiji). We find little support for a hypothesis that populations on Fiji or Vanuatu were colonized via Australia. The complete lack of polymorphism in peregrine falcons of Fiji is remarkable, and to our knowledge has not been observed in a natural avian population. This lack of polymorphism, and the inability to test for decrease in polymorphism using museum samples, precludes testing whether the lack of genetic diversity in the population on Fiji is due to a recent bottleneck, or sustained isolation over evolutionary time. Increased fertility in eggs of Fiji peregrines upon outbreeding with males from other areas is consistent with inbreeding depression within a population typified by heterozygote deficiency.

Publication Year 2011
Title Lack of genetic polymorphism among peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus of Fiji
DOI 10.1111/j.1600-048X.2011.05280.x
Authors Sandra L. Talbot, Angela G. Palmer, George K. Sage, Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Ted Swem, Daniel J. Brimm, Clayton M White
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Avian Biology
Index ID 70135056
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB