Assaying diversity at functional genomic regions, such as those of the immune system, allows us to test hypotheses about processes that determine the distribution of genetic diversity in threatened populations, and the fitness consequences of those distributions. Toll-like receptors (TLR) are a family of genes responsible for initiating innate and acquired immune responses to a diversity of pathogens. We provide 30 new primers, which, along with cross-species application of published primers, amplify TLR gene sequences in nine bird species of conservation concern in New Zealand. By including one member each of Apterygiformes and Gruiformes, two members of Psittaciformes, and five members of Passeriformes, our data significantly expand the number of avian species for which TLR sequences are available, and facilitates study of these genes in a greater diversity of taxa.
We are grateful to those who generously provided samples for this study: Hugh Robertson, Oliver Overdyck, Tertia Thurley (New Zealand Department of Conservation); Kerry Weston, Bruce Robertson (University of Otago), Kevin Parker (Massey University), Patricia Brekke (Zoological Society of London) and Bethany Jackson (Auckland Zoo). We thank Stefanie Großer, Gabrielle Knafler, Tania King and Chris Harris for laboratory assistance. Our research into the consequences of genetic diversity loss in threated species receives funding from the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, the Marsden Fund (Contract no. UOO1009), Landcare Research (Contract no. C09X0503) and University of Otago.
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