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Most studies of genetic variation within species to date are based on random markers. However, how well this correlates with quantitative variation is contentious. Yet, functional, or'ecotypic' variation in quantitative traits determines the ecological niche of a species, its future evolutionary potential, and, for livestock, crops and their wild relatives, their usefulness as a genetic resource for breeding. But nowadays we can also assess genetic diversity using markers directly targeted at specific genes or gene families. Such gene-targeted, multilocus profiles of markers can contribute to ex-situ management of genetic resources, ecological studies of diversity, and conservation of endangered species. Diversity within species is often assessed using neutral markers. But why would we be interested in variation irrelevant to the species? Shouldn't we target genes with important ecological functions instead? [KEYWORDS: Biodiversity; Endangered species; Conservation biology; Genetic profiling; Evolutionary significant units; neutral markers]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-582
JournalTrends in Ecology & Evolution
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2002

ID: 286052