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The genetics of conservation

Adapted and adaptable? The genetics of conservation

This talk provides an overview of methods we are using to inform ecological restoration and conservation using genetic data.

Ex situ collections of plants usually require choices about which individuals are planted or to maintained. If we have genetic data, we can make these choices according to a simple objective, such as maximizing the genetic diversity of the collection. High genetic diversity is usually desirable, because it helps the population respond to future challenges (these collections are more 'adaptable'). However, there are also times when we might have another objective for the collection, such as increasing the representation of a fit phenotype or allele (we want the collection to be 'adapted' in some specific way). And sometimes, the objectives of increasing overall diversity and selecting for a particular trait conflict with each other, resulting in a sharp trade-off. We are working on approaches to characterizing these tradeoffs, and to figure out when it is possible to design collections that are both adapted and adaptable.

Dr Jason Bragg from the Evolutionary Ecology section of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney presents his work in the video below.