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Conservation genetics in a globally changing environment: present problems, paradoxes and future challenges

Abstract

Despite recent advances in conservation genetics and related disciplines and the growing impact that conservation genetics is having in conservation biology, our knowledge on several key issues in the field is still insufficient. Here we identify some of these issues together with addressing several paradoxes which have to be solved before conservation genetics can face new challenges that are appearing in the transitory phase from the population genetics into the population genomics era. Most of these issues, paradoxes and challenges, like the central dogma of conservation genetics, the computational, theoretical and laboratory experiment achievements and limitations in the conservation genetics field have been discussed. Further knowledge on the consequences of inbreeding and outbreeding depression in wild populations as well as the capacity of small populations to adapt to local environmental conditions is also urgently needed. The integration of experimental, theoretical and applied conservation genetics will contribute to improve our understanding of methodological and applied aspects of conservation genetics.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to acknowledge the ConGen Program (funded by the European Science Foundation) and the Danish National Research Council for financial support (CP grants no. 21-01-0526 and no. 21-03-0125, VL frame grant). This review has profited greatly from the discussions that took place during several workshops organized through this Programme (Potsdam, 22–25 May 2005; Santiago de Compostella, 17–29 November 2005; Montpellier, 7–9 December 2006; Antalya 21–23 January 2007; Helsinki, 9–13 February 2007.

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Pertoldi, C., Bijlsma, R. & Loeschcke, V. Conservation genetics in a globally changing environment: present problems, paradoxes and future challenges. Biodivers Conserv 16, 4147–4163 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-007-9212-4

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Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation genetics
  • Global change
  • Inbreeding depression
  • Outbreeding depression
  • Genetic markers
  • Genetic structure
  • Neutral vs selective variation
  • Adaptive variation