Conservation and the Genetics of Populations by Frederick William Allendorf

By Frederick William Allendorf

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Mather (1953) ascribed the regulation or suppression of these chance physiological differences to the genotypic stabilization of development, and proposed that developmental stability could be measured by fluctuating asymmetry. , decreased developmental stability) will result in greater fluctuating bilateral asymmetry. The amount of fluctuating asymmetry in populations may be a useful measure of stress resulting from either genetic or environmental causes in natural populations (Leary and Allendorf 1989, Clarke 1993, Zakharov 2001).

1948), redrawn from Strickberger (2000). the locality in which eggs developed (James 1983, 1991). James (1991) has reviewed experimental studies of geographic variation in bird species. She found a remarkably consistent pattern of intraspecific variation in size in breeding populations of North American bird species. Individuals from warm humid climates tend to be smaller than birds from increasingly cooler and drier regions. In addition, birds from regions with greater humidity tend to have more darkly colored feathers.

2), and determine whether the phenotypic differences do have a genetic basis; however, it is usually extremely difficult to identify which specific genes contribute to those phenotypic differences (Mackay 2001). Genomic technologies are now available that can potentially “bridge the chasm between genotype and phenotype” (Brenner 2000), but they remain financially out of reach for most species of conservation interest. There is accumulating evidence that the environment can impose effects that are transmitted from generation to generation and generate heritable variation for traits by external influences on the genome (Bonduriansky and Day 2009).

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