Perspective on conservation genetics

  • S. J. O’Brien
Part of the Experientia Supplementum book series (EXS, volume 69)


Conservation genetics is an applied science. Much as electrical engineering is the application of principles of physics to building rockets, satellites and television stations, conservation genetics takes the methods and theories of molecular biology, genetics and evolution, and interprets the natural history of a threatened population, the hope being to provide useful clues about a population’s genetic structure that can be valuable in developing an effective management strategy. When combined with demographic, ecological, behavioral, and physiological characteristics of endangered species, genetic data has emerged as a unifying component for interpreting past history, present status, and future prospects for threatened populations facing extinction. A notable change has occurred in the last decade in developing conservation plans. Before 1980, endangered species protection emphasized ecological and demographic considerations. Today, genetics, reproductive physiology, clinical medicine, and infectious disease are agenda items on nearly all conservation management plans.


Major Histocompatibility Complex Giant Panda Conservation Genetic Population Bottleneck Elephant Seal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. O’Brien
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Viral CarcinogenesisNational Cancer InstituteFrederickUSA

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