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Bird migration - the genetic architecture of seasonal traits


Liedvogel,  Miriam
Max Planck Research Group Behavioural Genomics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Liedvogel, M. (2019). Bird migration - the genetic architecture of seasonal traits. Habilitation Thesis, Christian-Albrecht-Universität, Kiel.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-F76C-D
Migration is a complex behavioural adaptation for survival that has evolved across the animal kingdom from
invertebrates to mammals. In some taxa, close related migratory species or even populations of the same species
exhibit different migratory phenotypes, including variation in timing and orientation of migration. In these species, a
significant proportion of the phenotypic variance in migratory traits is genetic in origin. In others, the migratory
phenotype and direction are triggered by seasonal changes in the environment, suggesting an epigenetic origin.
The exact genes and epigenetic changes underpinning migratory behaviour, however, remain largely unknown, but
a revolution in (epi)genomic and functional genomic tools holds great promise to rapidly move the field of migration
genetics forward. My introductory chapter reviews our current understanding of the genetic and epigenetic
architecture of seasonal traits, focusing on the European blackcap. It also outlines a vision of how technical
advances and integrative approaches could be employed to identify and functionally validate candidate genes and
cis-regulatory elements in this (and other) migratory species across both small and broad phylogenetic scales to
advance the field of genetics of animal migration. This review is based on the underlying papers presented in the
remainder of my cumulative habilitation thesis.