Ecological genetics

Study of genetics in natural populations / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Ecological genetics is the study of genetics in natural populations. It combines ecology, evolution, and genetics to understand the processes behind adaptation.[1]

This contrasts with classical genetics, which works mostly on crosses between laboratory strains, and DNA sequence analysis, which studies genes at the molecular level.

Research in this field is on traits of ecological significance—traits that affect an organism's fitness, or its ability to survive and reproduce.[1] Examples of such traits include flowering time, drought tolerance, polymorphism, mimicry, and avoidance of attacks by predators.[2][citation needed]

Ecological genetics is an especially useful tool when studying endangered species.[3] Meta-barcoding and eDNA are used to examine the biodiversity of species in an ecosystem.[4]

Research usually involves a mixture of field and laboratory studies.[5] Samples of natural populations may be taken back to the laboratory for their genetic variation to be analyzed. Changes in the populations at different times and places will be noted, and the pattern of mortality in these populations will be studied. Research is often done on organisms that have short generation times, such as insects and microbial communities.[6][7]

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