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Author Notes:

To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: dmaney@emory.edu.

Edited by Ellen D. Ketterson, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, and accepted by the Editorial Board December 5, 2013 (received for review September 12, 2013)

Author contributions: B.M.H., W.H.H., E.A.O., J.W.T., W.M.Z.-K., and D.L.M. designed research; B.M.H., W.H.H., E.A.O., S.S., J.W.T., E.R.Y., W.M.Z.-K., and D.L.M. performed research; B.M.H., W.H.H., E.A.O., J.W.T., W.M.Z.-K., and D.L.M. analyzed data; and B.M.H., W.H.H., E.A.O., J.W.T., W.M.Z.-K., and D.L.M. wrote the paper.


  • estradiol
  • testosterone
  • morph
  • reproductive tactics

Estrogen receptor α polymorphism in a species with alternative behavioral phenotypes


Journal Title:

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Volume 111, Number 4


, Pages 1443-1448

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Significance In this series of studies, we provide a rare illustration of how a chromosomal polymorphism has affected overt social behavior in a vertebrate. White-throated sparrows occur in two alternative phenotypes, or morphs, distinguished by a chromosomal rearrangement. That the morphs differ in territorial and parental behavior has been known for decades, but how the rearrangement affects behavior is not understood. Here we show that genetic differentiation between the morphs affects the transcription of a gene well known to be involved in social behavior. We then show that in a free-living population, the neural expression of this gene predicts both territorial and parental behavior. We hypothesize that this mechanism has played a causal role in the evolution of alternative life-history strategies.

Copyright information:

© 2014 National Academy of Sciences.

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