Recent developments in conservation genetics

Philip W. Hedrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Because of the new molecular genetics information from various genome projects, new applications and insights for genetics studies in endangered species are forthcoming. Neutral variants are generally used for conservation applications and estimating evolutionary parameters, and with highly variable loci, many more markers, or extensive sequence data, these approaches should become much more informative. Detrimental and adaptive variation is of importance in conservation genetics but identification and characterization of such variation is more difficult. Neutral variants might be used to identify adaptive variants but the overlay of different mutational processes and selective regimes suggests that great caution should be used in making such predictions. Examples in endangered species discussed below are (1) estimation of long-term effective population size using neutral markers in three fishes of the lower Colorado River; (2) genetic restoration of the Florida panther by the introduction of Texas cougars; (3) impact of pathogens and adaptive variation on the winter-run chinook salmon; (4) examination of the adaptive variation for a major histocompatibility complex (MHC) gene in red wolves. Although these examples are all from animals, the techniques and approaches used should prove equally useful in endangered plant species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-19
Number of pages17
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Aug 11 2004


  • Effective population size
  • Florida panthers
  • Inbreeding depression
  • Lethals
  • MHC
  • Neutrality
  • Red wolves
  • Winter-run chinook salmon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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