Applied Research Program in Conservation Genetics
Capability/Technical Service - Characterization of genetic diversity within and among natural populations.
Definition. Populations of a species may diverge from one another when geneflow (migration) between populations is limited and when environments that populations are in differ in the selective pressures on those populations. This commonly results in the genetic resources off the species being distributed among several populations. Panmixia, a state of unlimited geneflow between all populations, limits the potential for adaptation to different environments in which individuals of the species are distributed. Pacific salmon and freshwater fish species generally do not exhibit panmixia and more often exist as a series of populations between which geneflow is limited (i.e. sub-populations). Decisions regarding conservation priorities and conservation actions can be difficult to make in the absence of knowledge of geneflow among populations. This can be true on a recent temporal scale, such as determination of the degree of interbreeding between wild and hatchery fish with in a system, or over a longer temporal scale, such as designation of the evolutionary units important to that species.