1 Tahrcountry Musings: Targeted gene flow as a tool for conservation

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Targeted gene flow as a tool for conservation

Ella Kelly and Ben L. Phillips from School of Biosciences, University of Melbourne argues that  targeted gene flow, which involves moving individuals with favorite  traits to areas where these traits would have a conservation benefit, could have much broader application in conservation. Across a species’ range there may be long-standing geographic variation in traits or variation that  may have rapidly developed in response to a threatening process.   Rather than simply assuming persistent populations are there purely because of attributes of their environment, decision makers should carefully consider the possibility that these populations persist because of genetic variation in relevant traits. The persistent populations can be exploited for both targeted gene flow and reintroduction efforts. Targeted gene flow could be used to promote natural resistance to threats to increase species resilience. They go on to add that targeted gene flow is a currently underappreciated strategy in conservation.  Targeted gene flow may provide novel solutions to a number of conservation problems across a wide range of species and threatening processes.

   Targeted gene flow for conservation
    Ella Kelly and Ben L. Phillips
Conservation Biology, Volume 30, Issue 2, pages 259–267, April 2016

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