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.
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