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Molecular contributions to conservation

March 1, 1998

Recent advances in molecular technology have opened a new chapter in species conservation efforts, as well as population biology. DNA sequencing, MHC (major histocompatibility complex), minisatellite, microsatellite, and RAPD (random amplified polymorphic DNA) procedures allow for identification of parentage, more distant relatives, founders to new populations, unidentified individuals, population structure, effective population size, population-specific markers, etc. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) amplification of mitochondrial DNA, nuclear DNA, ribosomal DNA, chloroplast DNA, and other systems provide for more sophisticated analyses of metapopulation structure, hybridization events, and delineation of species, subspecies, and races, all of which aid in setting species recovery priorities. Each technique can be powerful in its own right but is most credible when used in conjunction with other molecular techniques and, most importantly, with ecological and demographic data collected from the field. Surprisingly few taxa of concern have been assayed with any molecular technique. Thus, rather than showcasing exhaustive details from a few well-known examples, this paper attempts to present a broad range of cases in which molecular techniques have been used to provide insight into conservation efforts.

Publication Year 1998
Title Molecular contributions to conservation
DOI 10.1890/0012-9658(1998)079[0413:MCTC]2.0.CO;2
Authors Susan M. Haig
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecology
Index ID 1015680
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center