Hypervariable-control-region sequences reveal global population structuring in a long-distance migrant shorebird, the Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

Dunlin (Calidris alpina) Science Article 1


Hypervariable segments of the control region of mtDNA as well as part of the cytochrome b gene of Dunlins were amplifed with PCR and sequenced directly. The 910 base pairs (bp) obtained for each of 73 individuals complete another of the few sequencing studies that examine the global range of a vertebrate species. A total of 35 types of mtDNA were detected, 33 of which were defined by the hypervariable control-region segments. Thirty of the latter were specific to populations of different geographic origin in the circumpolar breeding range of the species. The remaining three types indicate dispersal between populations in southern Norway and Siberia, but female-mediated flow of mtDNA apparently is too low to overcome the effects of high mutation rates of the control-region sequences, as well as population subdivision associated with historical range disjunctions.

Paul W. Wenink, Allan J. Baker, and Marcel G. J. Tilanus, Proc. Nati. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 90, pp. 94-98, January 1993

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