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Unformatted text preview: RESEARCH ARTICLE An essay on the necessity and feasibility of conservation genomics N. Joop Ouborg Francesco Angeloni Philippine Vergeer Received: 27 August 2009 / Accepted: 25 November 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009 Abstract The basic premise of conservation genetics is that small populations may be genetically threatened. The two steps leading to this premise are: (1) due to prominent influence of random genetic drift and inbreeding allelic and genotypic diversity in small populations is expected to be low, and (2) low allelic diversity and high homozygosity are expected to lead to immediate fitness decreases (inbreeding depression) and a compromised potential for evolutionary adaptation. Conservation genetic research has been strongly stimulated by the application of neutral molecular markers like microsatellites and AFLPs. In general these marker studies have provided evidence for step 1. It is less evident how these markers may provide evidence for step 2. In this essay we argue that, in order to get detailed insight in step 2, adopting a conservation genomic approach, in which conservation genetics will use approaches from ecological and evolutionary functional genomics (ecogenomics), is both necessary and feasible. Conservation genomics is necessary for studying functional genomic variation as function of drift and inbreeding, for studying the mechanisms that relate low genetic variation to low fitness, for integrating environmental and genetic approaches to conservation biology, and for developing modern, fast monitoring tools. The rapid technical and financial developments in genomics currently make con- servation genomics feasible, and will improve feasibility in the very near future even further. We therefore argue that conservation genomics personifies part of the near future of conservation genetics. Keywords Conservation genomics Transcriptomics Inbreeding depression Gene-by-environment interaction Introduction It is now almost thirty years ago that Otto Frankel and Michael Soule published their bench mark book Conser- vation and Evolution (Frankel and Soule 1981 ), marking the birth of the field of conservation biology. Papers appeared in the late seventies (e.g. Bonnell and Selander 1974 ; Brown and Kodric-Brown 1977 ; Franklin 1980 ; Soule and Wilcox 1980 ; Shaffer 1981 ) that pointed out that the conservation of small, isolated populations of threatened and endangered species would have to deal with previously unrecognized features of population biology and genetics. Yet, Frankel and Soule presented for the first time the full comprehensive set of ideas on how population biology and population genetics would interplay in determining the probability of persistence of endangered species, thereby laying the theoretical fundament for conservation biology....
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This note was uploaded on 03/02/2010 for the course ECL 242 taught by Professor Holly during the Winter '10 term at UC Davis.
- Winter '10
- The Land