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In this article we present the first analysis of parentage and relatedness in a natural vertebrate population, using Intersimple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) markers. Thus, 28 ISSR markers were used in a study of a sex-role reversed, simultaneously polyandrous shorebird from northeastern Australia, the comb-crested jacana (Irediparra gallinacea). Assessment of parentage was based on comparison of field observations, novel bands, individual-specific bands found in 7/9 males and 4/6 females, and a 99% CI exclusion criteria. Integrating results from these approaches resulted in confirmation of paternity in all 36 chicks. In only one case (2.8% of chicks) was a co-mate assigned paternity. Thus, comb-crested jacanas appear to be genetically monogamous. These results showed resemblance to sequentially polyandrous birds but differed from the simultaneously polyandrous wattled jacana ( Jacana jacana; Emlen et al. 1998). A significant relationship between relatedness and ISSR similarity resulted in recognition that 14/15 adults sampled may be related to at least one other adult by 0.25 or more. Lack of dispersal may be explained by physical limitations and adequate regional habitat. ISSRs proved to be simple and helpful in resolving these issues.
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Parentage and relatedness in polyandrous comb-crested jacanas using ISSRs