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Data from: A microsatellite-based linkage map for song sparrows (Melospiza melodia)

Cite this dataset

Nietlisbach, Pirmin et al. (2015). Data from: A microsatellite-based linkage map for song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) [Dataset]. Dryad.


Although linkage maps are important tools in evolutionary biology, their availability for wild populations is limited. The population of song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) on Mandarte Island, Canada, is among the more intensively studied wild animal populations. Its long-term pedigree data, together with extensive genetic sampling, have allowed the study of a range of questions in evolutionary biology and ecology. However, the availability of genetic markers has been limited. We here describe 191 new microsatellite loci, including 160 high-quality polymorphic autosomal, 7 Z-linked and 1 W-linked markers. We used these markers to construct a linkage map for song sparrows with a total sex-averaged map length of 1731 cM and covering 35 linkage groups, and hence, these markers cover most of the 38–40 chromosomes. Female and male map lengths did not differ significantly. We then bioinformatically mapped these loci to the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) genome and found that linkage groups were conserved between song sparrows and zebra finches. Compared to the zebra finch, marker order within small linkage groups was well conserved, whereas the larger linkage groups showed some intrachromosomal rearrangements. Finally, we show that as expected, recombination frequency between linked loci explained the majority of variation in gametic phase disequilibrium. Yet, there was substantial overlap in gametic phase disequilibrium between pairs of linked and unlinked loci. Given that the microsatellites described here lie on 35 of the 38–40 chromosomes, these markers will be useful for studies in this species, as well as for comparative genomics studies with other species.

Usage notes


Mandarte Island
British Columbia