Conservation Genetics

Conservation genetics is an interdisciplinary science that aims to apply genetic methods to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. In recent years, the field has been expanding due to advances in technologies and related disciplines, including genomics. Genomics is the study of the structure, function, and evolution of genomes—the entire collection of hereditary information for a given organism—as well as interactions between genes. This essay collection is excerpted from Conservation Genetics in the Age of Genomics (2009, Columbia University Press). The selected essays provide an introduction to challenges faced in conservation genetics and conservation biology in general, and examine how developments in genomics might provide advances in conservation genetics. This first chapter reviews the integration of genetics into conservation biology and discusses several areas in which genetics can aid in conservation decision-making. This text is distributed in this form by the Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners (NCEP) with permission from the authors and publishers. 

View this module in other languages:
Conservation Genetics (Ukrainian)

See also:
Evolutionary Ghosts and Frankenstein Ecosystems: Evaluating Rewilding Programs
Systematics and Biodiversity Conservation

Theme: Conservation Management

Language: English

Region: Global

Keywords: genetics, genomics, extinction, management, population dynamics, planning, tools

Components: 13

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learn

Synthesis: The Expansion of Conservation Genetics

Author: R. DeSalle, G. Amato

   

Synthesis: Conservation Genetics and the Extinction Crisis

Author: W. Conway

   

Synthesis: Conservation Genetics in the Age of Genomics: Moving Toward a More Integrated Approach

Author: G. Amato

   

Synthesis: Range Collapse, Population Loss, and the Erosion of Global Genetic Resources

Author: J.P. Gibbs

   

Synthesis: Conservomics? The Role of Genomics in Conservation Biology

Author: G. Amato, R. DeSalle

   

practice

Exercise: Inbreeding, Fluctuating Asymmetry, and Captive Breeding

Author: J.P. Gibbs

   

This exercise illustrates the importance of genetics in captive breeding and re-introduction of threatened species, where reproduction is often limited to small groups and inbreeding is a major concern. This exercise will familiarize students with the concept of inbreeding, constructing and analyzing a pedigree, examining the effects of inbreeding on fitness, and developing captive breeding plans.

Exercise: Population Genetics: Diversity within versus among populations

Author: J.P. Gibbs

   

This exercise focuses on the importance of and ways of determining genetic variation. Students are asked to allocate available funds to conserve a limited number of wetland sites hosting endemic orchid populations. Conservation sites are prioritized by determining the allele frequencies for each population and the fixation index (diversity) for each species. Students develop the skills to interpret enzyme electrophoresis gel results.

Exercise: A Toolbox for Conservation Genetics

3 files

Author: F. Kershaw

   

This exercise aims to provide students with a broad introduction to some of the key tools used in conservation genetics research. In specialist groups, students first discuss scientific papers that each focus on one specific conservation genetic tool. Students then form interdisciplinary groups to learn and share about the genetic tools among their peers, before designing a conservation genetic study aimed at solving a pertinent conservation problem.


teach

Presentation: A Toolbox for Conservation Genetics

Author: F. Kershaw

Teaching Notes: A Toolbox for Conservation Genetics

Author: F. Kershaw

Solutions: Inbreeding, Fluctuating Asymmetry, and Captive Breeding

Author: J.P. Gibbs

Solutions: Population Genetics: Diversity within versus among populations

Author: J.P. Gibbs

Solutions: A Toolbox for Conservation Genetics

Author: F. Kershaw


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