Epigenetics and the introduced populations of the house sparrow in Australia

Sparrowfig
The relationship between genetic differentiation between populations and epigenetic variation (Fig from Sheldon et al 2018)

In our most recent paper, published today in Royal Society Open Science (see article here), we examine the extent to which DNA methylation is related to genetic variation across different populations in the three introduction clusters of the house sparrow in Australia. We found no support for the idea that epigenetic variation might compensate for a lack of genetic diversity in introduced populations. However, we did find that patterns of epigenetic variation are highly variable across populations within each of these clusters, rather than having shared similarity across clusters (as in genetic variation). This study is still one of relatively few that has examined  the patterns of epigenetic variation across a number of populations and contributes to our growing understanding of the role of epigenetic variation in ecology and evolution.

It is particularly timely that the study is published today, the last day at Macquarie for both Ellie Sheldon who is departing to work on a field project in the Kimberley region, and Sam Andrew, who is heading to Finland to work with Craig Primmer on his Endeavour Fellowship.

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