Individuals often considerably differ in the timing of their life-cycle events, with major consequences for individual fitness, and, ultimately, for population dynamics. Phenological variation can arise from genetic effects but also from epigenetic modifications in DNA expression and translation. Here, we tested if CpG methylation at the poly-Q and 5′-UTR loci of the photoperiodic Clock gene predicted migration and breeding phenology of long-distance migratory barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) that were tracked year-round using light-level geolocators. Increasing methylation at Clock poly-Q was associated with earlier spring departure from the African wintering area, arrival date at the European breeding site, and breeding date. Higher methylation levels also predicted increased breeding success. Thus, we showed for the first time in any species that CpG methylation at a candidate gene may affect phenology and breeding performance. Methylation at Clock may be a candidate mechanism mediating phenological responses of migratory birds to ongoing climate change.

Migration phenology and breeding success are predicted by methylation of a photoperiodic gene in the barn swallow / N. Saino, R. Ambrosini, B. Albetti, M. Caprioli, B. De Giorgio, E. Gatti, F. Liechti, M. Parolini, A. Romano, M. Romano, C. Scandolara, L. Gianfranceschi, V. Bollati, D. Rubolini. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - 7(2017).

Migration phenology and breeding success are predicted by methylation of a photoperiodic gene in the barn swallow

N. Saino;R. Ambrosini;B. Albetti;M. Caprioli;GATTI, EMANUELE;M. Parolini;A. Romano;C. Scandolara;L. Gianfranceschi;V. Bollati;D. Rubolini
2017

Abstract

Individuals often considerably differ in the timing of their life-cycle events, with major consequences for individual fitness, and, ultimately, for population dynamics. Phenological variation can arise from genetic effects but also from epigenetic modifications in DNA expression and translation. Here, we tested if CpG methylation at the poly-Q and 5′-UTR loci of the photoperiodic Clock gene predicted migration and breeding phenology of long-distance migratory barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) that were tracked year-round using light-level geolocators. Increasing methylation at Clock poly-Q was associated with earlier spring departure from the African wintering area, arrival date at the European breeding site, and breeding date. Higher methylation levels also predicted increased breeding success. Thus, we showed for the first time in any species that CpG methylation at a candidate gene may affect phenology and breeding performance. Methylation at Clock may be a candidate mechanism mediating phenological responses of migratory birds to ongoing climate change.
Multidisciplinary
Settore MED/44 - Medicina del Lavoro
SCIENTIFIC REPORTS
www.nature.com/srep/index.html
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/496663
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