High frequency of extra-pair paternity in Swedish pied flycatchers revealed by allozyme electrophoresis and DNA fingerprinting
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We used two genetic techniques to study multiple parentage in the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca). Allozyme electrophoresis of 131 nestlings from 22 clutches sampled in 1982 and 1987 showed that one nestling had a mismatched allele compared with its putative parents. In one additional nest the devitation from Mendelian inheritance of parental genotypes suggested extra-pair paternity. The calculated probability of detecting multiple paternity from the genetic variation at four loci was 0.115. The estimated population frequency of extra-pair fertilization (EPF) was 13%, based on two mismatches and the probability of detecting multiple paternity. The seven families (n = 38 nestlings) in the 1987 sample were also analyzed by DNA fingerprinting using the M13 and Jeffrey's 33.15 probes. Overall, 24% (n = 9) of the nestlings analyzed were genetically inconsistent with their putative father, with EPF occurring in three (43%) of the seven clutches. One nestling originated by intraspecific brood parasitism. Comparison of the two techniques using the same samples showed that allozyme electrophoresis has a resolution only 11% of that of DNA fingerprinting, close to the calculated probability of detecting multiple paternity (0.115). Both techniques suggest that extra-pair fertilization is relatively common in the Swedish populations investigated compared to the low frequency reported from a Norwegian population.
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