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Landscape genetics: combining landscape ecology and population genetics

Manel, Stephanie; Schwartz, Michael K.; Luikart, Gordon; Taberlet, Pierre. 2003. Landscape genetics: combining landscape ecology and population genetics. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 18(4): 189-197.

Understanding the processes and patterns of gene flow and local adaptation requires a detailed knowledge of how landscape characteristics structure populations. This understanding is crucial, not only for improving ecological knowledge, but also for managing properly the genetic diversity of threatened and endangered populations. For nearly 80 years, population geneticists have investigated how physiognomy and other landscape features have influenced genetic variation within and between populations. They have relied on sampling populations that have been identified beforehand because most population genetics methods have required discrete populations. However, a new approach has emerged for analyzing spatial genetic data without requiring that discrete populations be identified in advance. This approach, landscape genetics, promises to facilitate our understanding of how geographical and environmental features structure genetic variation at both the population and individual levels, and has implications for ecology, evolution and conservation biology. It differs from other genetic approaches, such as phylogeography, in that it tends to focus on processes at finer spatial and temporal scales. Here, we discuss, from a population genetic perspective, the current tools available for conducting studies of landscape genetics.

Keywords: landscape, genetics, ecology, gene flow, local adaptation

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Landscape genetics: combining landscape ecology and population genetics
Electronic Publish Date: September 25, 2008
Last Update:
September 25, 2008

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