Comment on Gohli et al. (2013): "Does promiscuity explain differences in levels of genetic diversity across passerine birds?"

Lewis G. Spurgin*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Gohli et al. (2013) report a positive relationship between genetic diversity and promiscuity across passerine birds, and suggest that female promiscuity acts as a form of balancing selection, maintaining differences in genetic variation across species. This is an interesting hypothesis, but the enormous variation in genetic diversity present within species is not taken into account in their analyses. This, combined with a small sample size at several levels, makes the relationship between genetic diversity and promiscuity very difficult to interpret. Demonstrating that species-level differences in genetic diversity (if they occur at all) are affected by promiscuity would require a far more comprehensive study than is presently possible.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3071-3072
    Number of pages2
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct-2013


    • Balancing selection
    • extrapair paternity
    • genetic diversity
    • major histocompatibility complex
    • sexual selection

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