Conservation and genetics

Charles B. Fenster, Jonathan D. Ballou, Michele R. Dudash, Mark D.B. Eldridge, Richard Frankham, Robert C. Lacy, Katherine Ralls, Paul Sunnucks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Humans are responsible for a cataclysm of species extinction that will change the world as we see it, and will adversely affect human health and wellbeing. We need to understand at individual and societal levels why species conservation is important. Accepting the premise that species have value, we need to next consider the mechanisms underlying species extinction and what we can do to reverse the process. One of the last stages of species extinction is the reduction of a species to a few populations of relatively few individuals, a scenario that leads invariably to inbreeding and its adverse consequences, inbreeding depression. Inbreeding depression can be so severe that populations become at risk of extinction not only because of the expression of harmful recessive alleles (alleles having no phenotypic effect when in the heterozygous condition, e.g., Aa, where a is the recessive allele), but also because of their inability to respond genetically with sufficient speed to adapt to changing environmental conditions. However, new conservation approaches based on foundational quantitative and population genetic theory advocate for active genetic management of fragmented populations by facilitating gene movements between populations, i.e., admixture, or genetic rescue. Why species conservation is critical, the genetic consequences of small population size that often lead to extinction, and possible solutions to the problem of small population size are discussed and presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-501
Number of pages11
JournalYale Journal of Biology and Medicine
Volume91
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Genetic rescue
  • Inbreeding
  • Inbreeding depression

Cite this

Fenster, C. B., Ballou, J. D., Dudash, M. R., Eldridge, M. D. B., Frankham, R., Lacy, R. C., ... Sunnucks, P. (2018). Conservation and genetics. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 91(4), 491-501.
Fenster, Charles B. ; Ballou, Jonathan D. ; Dudash, Michele R. ; Eldridge, Mark D.B. ; Frankham, Richard ; Lacy, Robert C. ; Ralls, Katherine ; Sunnucks, Paul. / Conservation and genetics. In: Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 2018 ; Vol. 91, No. 4. pp. 491-501.
@article{dbf9c985fabb4e84b9cd3b52a2bf68b7,
title = "Conservation and genetics",
abstract = "Humans are responsible for a cataclysm of species extinction that will change the world as we see it, and will adversely affect human health and wellbeing. We need to understand at individual and societal levels why species conservation is important. Accepting the premise that species have value, we need to next consider the mechanisms underlying species extinction and what we can do to reverse the process. One of the last stages of species extinction is the reduction of a species to a few populations of relatively few individuals, a scenario that leads invariably to inbreeding and its adverse consequences, inbreeding depression. Inbreeding depression can be so severe that populations become at risk of extinction not only because of the expression of harmful recessive alleles (alleles having no phenotypic effect when in the heterozygous condition, e.g., Aa, where a is the recessive allele), but also because of their inability to respond genetically with sufficient speed to adapt to changing environmental conditions. However, new conservation approaches based on foundational quantitative and population genetic theory advocate for active genetic management of fragmented populations by facilitating gene movements between populations, i.e., admixture, or genetic rescue. Why species conservation is critical, the genetic consequences of small population size that often lead to extinction, and possible solutions to the problem of small population size are discussed and presented.",
keywords = "Biodiversity, Conservation, Ecosystem services, Genetic rescue, Inbreeding, Inbreeding depression",
author = "Fenster, {Charles B.} and Ballou, {Jonathan D.} and Dudash, {Michele R.} and Eldridge, {Mark D.B.} and Richard Frankham and Lacy, {Robert C.} and Katherine Ralls and Paul Sunnucks",
year = "2018",
month = "12",
day = "1",
language = "English",
volume = "91",
pages = "491--501",
journal = "Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine",
issn = "0044-0086",
publisher = "Yale School of Medicine",
number = "4",

}

Fenster, CB, Ballou, JD, Dudash, MR, Eldridge, MDB, Frankham, R, Lacy, RC, Ralls, K & Sunnucks, P 2018, 'Conservation and genetics' Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, vol. 91, no. 4, pp. 491-501.

Conservation and genetics. / Fenster, Charles B.; Ballou, Jonathan D.; Dudash, Michele R.; Eldridge, Mark D.B.; Frankham, Richard; Lacy, Robert C.; Ralls, Katherine; Sunnucks, Paul.

In: Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, Vol. 91, No. 4, 01.12.2018, p. 491-501.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Conservation and genetics

AU - Fenster, Charles B.

AU - Ballou, Jonathan D.

AU - Dudash, Michele R.

AU - Eldridge, Mark D.B.

AU - Frankham, Richard

AU - Lacy, Robert C.

AU - Ralls, Katherine

AU - Sunnucks, Paul

PY - 2018/12/1

Y1 - 2018/12/1

N2 - Humans are responsible for a cataclysm of species extinction that will change the world as we see it, and will adversely affect human health and wellbeing. We need to understand at individual and societal levels why species conservation is important. Accepting the premise that species have value, we need to next consider the mechanisms underlying species extinction and what we can do to reverse the process. One of the last stages of species extinction is the reduction of a species to a few populations of relatively few individuals, a scenario that leads invariably to inbreeding and its adverse consequences, inbreeding depression. Inbreeding depression can be so severe that populations become at risk of extinction not only because of the expression of harmful recessive alleles (alleles having no phenotypic effect when in the heterozygous condition, e.g., Aa, where a is the recessive allele), but also because of their inability to respond genetically with sufficient speed to adapt to changing environmental conditions. However, new conservation approaches based on foundational quantitative and population genetic theory advocate for active genetic management of fragmented populations by facilitating gene movements between populations, i.e., admixture, or genetic rescue. Why species conservation is critical, the genetic consequences of small population size that often lead to extinction, and possible solutions to the problem of small population size are discussed and presented.

AB - Humans are responsible for a cataclysm of species extinction that will change the world as we see it, and will adversely affect human health and wellbeing. We need to understand at individual and societal levels why species conservation is important. Accepting the premise that species have value, we need to next consider the mechanisms underlying species extinction and what we can do to reverse the process. One of the last stages of species extinction is the reduction of a species to a few populations of relatively few individuals, a scenario that leads invariably to inbreeding and its adverse consequences, inbreeding depression. Inbreeding depression can be so severe that populations become at risk of extinction not only because of the expression of harmful recessive alleles (alleles having no phenotypic effect when in the heterozygous condition, e.g., Aa, where a is the recessive allele), but also because of their inability to respond genetically with sufficient speed to adapt to changing environmental conditions. However, new conservation approaches based on foundational quantitative and population genetic theory advocate for active genetic management of fragmented populations by facilitating gene movements between populations, i.e., admixture, or genetic rescue. Why species conservation is critical, the genetic consequences of small population size that often lead to extinction, and possible solutions to the problem of small population size are discussed and presented.

KW - Biodiversity

KW - Conservation

KW - Ecosystem services

KW - Genetic rescue

KW - Inbreeding

KW - Inbreeding depression

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85059240767&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

VL - 91

SP - 491

EP - 501

JO - Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine

JF - Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine

SN - 0044-0086

IS - 4

ER -

Fenster CB, Ballou JD, Dudash MR, Eldridge MDB, Frankham R, Lacy RC et al. Conservation and genetics. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 2018 Dec 1;91(4):491-501.