Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Does inbreeding affect gene expression in birds?

  • Bengt Hansson
  • Sara Naurin
  • Dennis Hasselquist
Publishing year: 2014
Language: English
Publication/Series: Biology letters
Volume: 10
Issue: 9
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Royal Society

Abstract english

Inbreeding increases homozygosity, exposes genome-wide recessive deleterious alleles and often reduces fitness. The physiological and reproductive consequences of inbreeding may be manifested already during gene regulation, but the degree to which inbreeding influences gene expression is unknown in most organisms, including in birds. To evaluate the pattern of inbreeding-affected gene expression over the genome and in relation to sex, we performed a transcriptome-wide gene expression (10 695 genes) study of brain tissue of 10-day-old inbred and outbred, male and female zebra finches. We found significantly lower gene expression in females compared with males at Z-linked genes, confirming that dosage compensation is incomplete in female birds. However, inbreeding did not affect gene expression at autosomal or sex-linked genes, neither in males nor in females. Analyses of single genes again found a clear sex-biased expression at Z-linked genes, whereas only a single gene was significantly affected by inbreeding. The weak effect of inbreeding on gene expression in zebra finches contrasts to the situation, for example, in Drosophila where inbreeding has been found to influence gene expression more generally and at stress-related genes in particular.


  • Biological Sciences


  • BECC
  • Inbreeding and inbreeding depression
  • Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab
  • ISSN: 1744-9561
Dennis Hasselquist
E-mail: dennis [dot] hasselquist [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 37 08



Research group


Doctoral students and postdocs

Research fellows


Jacob Roved

PhD Students, main supervisor

PhD Students, assistant supervisor


Interview about my research in the Swedish podcast "Forskarn & jag"