Harnessing genomics for delineating conservation units

Trends in Ecology & Evolution
W Chris FunkFred W Allendorf


Genomic data have the potential to revolutionize the delineation of conservation units (CUs) by allowing the detection of adaptive genetic variation, which is otherwise difficult for rare, endangered species. In contrast to previous recommendations, we propose that the use of neutral versus adaptive markers should not be viewed as alternatives. Rather, neutral and adaptive markers provide different types of information that should be combined to make optimal management decisions. Genetic patterns at neutral markers reflect the interaction of gene flow and genetic drift that affects genome-wide variation within and among populations. This population genetic structure is what natural selection operates on to cause adaptive divergence. Here, we provide a new framework to integrate data on neutral and adaptive markers to protect biodiversity.


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