, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 665-669
Date: 15 Nov 2009

Perspective: conservation genetics enters the genomics era

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Introduction

Throughout most of my professional career (which began in the late 1960s), a long-sought Holy Grail in molecular ecology and evolution was to obtain extensive nucleic acid sequences from large numbers of loci and organisms. In lieu of efficient DNA-sequencing technologies, researchers adopted a succession of less direct approaches for estimating various genomic parameters such as heterozygosities, kinship coefficients, or genetic distances. These laboratory techniques included allozyme electrophoresis (mid-1960s), the immunological approach of micro-complement fixation (1960s), gel-sieving and other methods to reveal hidden protein variation (early 1970s), restriction-enzyme assays especially of mitochondrial DNA (late 1970s), DNA/DNA hybridization (1970s), DNA fingerprinting by minisatellites (1980s), PCR-based sequencing of particular target genes for which conservative primers were developed (late 1980s), RAPD (randomly amplified polymorphic DNA) assays (1990s), microsat