Conservation Genetics

, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp 585-602

First online:

Beyond FST: Analysis of population genetic data for conservation

  • Devon E. PearseAffiliated withDepartment of Integrative Biology, Brigham Young UniversityNational Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Fisheries Science Center Email author 
  • , Keith A. CrandallAffiliated withDepartment of Integrative Biology, Brigham Young University

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Both the ability to generate DNA data and the variety of analytical methods for conservation genetics are expanding at an ever-increasing pace. Analytical approaches are now possible that were unthinkable even five years ago due to limitations in computational power or the availability of DNA data, and this has vastly expanded the accuracy and types of information that may be gained from population genetic data. Here we provide a guide to recently developed methods for population genetic analysis, including identification of population structure, quantification of gene flow, and inference of demographic history. We cover both allele-frequency and sequence-based approaches, with a special focus on methods relevant to conservation genetic applications. Although classical population genetic approaches such as F st (and its derivatives) have carried the field thus far, newer, more powerful, methods can infer much more from the data, rely on fewer assumptions, and are appropriate for conservation genetic management when precise estimates are needed.