, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 263-269

Lack of concordance between genetic diversity estimates at the molecular and quantitative-trait levels

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In many applications of population genetics, particularly in the field of conservation biology, estimates of molecular diversity are used as surrogate indicators of less easily acquired measures of genetic variation for quantitative traits. The general validity of this approach to inferring levels of quantitative genetic variation within populations is called into question by the demonstration that estimates of molecular and quantitative-genetic variation are essentially uncorrelated in natural populations of Daphnia, one of the few organisms for which multiple estimates of both quantities are available. On the other hand, molecular measures of population subdivision seem to give conservatively low estimates of the degree of genetic subdivision at the level of quantitative traits. This suggests that although molecular markers provide little information on the level of genetic variation for quantitative traits within populations, they may be valid indicators of population subdivision for such characters.