Genetic monitoring

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Two broad categories of genetic monitoring have been defined:

population genetic parameters, which include estimators of effective population size
(Ne), genetic variation, population inter-mixing, structure and migration.


Estimating abundance and life history parameters – Category Ia

At the individual level, genetic identification can enable estimation of population abundance and population increase rates within the framework of

mark-recapture models. For example, DNA from feathers shed by the eastern imperial eagle shows lower cumulative survival over time than seen for other long-lived raptors.[7]

  • Grizzly bear

    Grizzly bear

  • Brush-tailed rock-wallaby

    Brush-tailed rock-wallaby

  • Snow leopard

    Snow leopard

  • Eastern imperial eagle

    Eastern imperial eagle

Identifying species – Category Ib

Use of molecular genetic techniques to identify species can be useful for a number of reasons. Species identification in the wild can be used to detect changes in population ranges or site occupancy, rates of


  • Iberian lynx

    Iberian lynx

  • Wolverine


  • Canadian lynx

    Canadian lynx

  • Spotted owl

    Spotted owl

Species identification is also of considerable utility in monitoring

sea horses[22] and sharks.[23] Such surveys are used to provide ongoing monitoring of the quantity and movement of fisheries and wildlife products through markets and for detecting poaching or other illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) exploitation [19] (e.g. IUU fishing

Although initial applications focused on species identification and population assessments, market surveys also provide the opportunity for a range of molecular ecology investigations including capture-recapture, assignment tests and population modeling.[19] These developments are potentially relevant to genetic monitoring Category II.

Monitoring population genetic parameters – Category II

Monitoring of population changes through genetic means can be done retrospectively, through analysis of

  • Galapagos giant tortoise

    Galapagos giant tortoise

  • Atlantic salmon

    Atlantic salmon

  • Hector's dolphin

    Hector's dolphin

  • Northern leopard frog

    Northern leopard frog

Genetic monitoring has also been increasingly used in studies that monitor environmental changes through changes in the frequency of adaptively selected markers. For example, the genetically controlled photo-periodic response (hibernating time) of pitcher-plant mosquitos (

flowering time were closely correlated with regulatory changes in one gene, suggesting a pathway for genetic adaptation to changing climate in plants.[44][45]

Genetic monitoring is also useful in monitoring the ongoing health of small, relocated populations. Good examples of this are found for

  • Barrel medic

    Barrel medic

  • Common wheat

    Common wheat

  • Pitcher plant mosquito

    Pitcher plant mosquito

  • Kakapo – New Zealand night parrot

    Kakapo – New Zealand night parrot

Status of genetic monitoring in science

In February 2007 an international summit was held at the Institute of the Environment at


In 2007 a

NESCent[50] to further develop the techniques involved and provide general monitoring guidance for policy makers and managers.[51]

Currently the topic is covered in several well known text books, including McComb et al. (2010) and Allendorf et al. (2013)

Genetic monitoring in natural resource agencies


U.S. Forest Service,[52] National Park Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service have been developing new methods and tools to use genetic monitoring, and applying such tools across broad geographic scales.[2][36]
Currently the USFWS hosts a website that informs managers as to the best way to use genetic tools for monitoring (see below).

See also


  1. ^ Website of the Convention on Biological Diversity
  2. ^
    PMID 16962204
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  18. (PDF) on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
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  39. S2CID 28250600. Archived from the original
    (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  40. S2CID 12815666. Archived from the original
    (PDF) on 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2021-06-12.
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  48. ^ "A Report on the Results and Recommendations of the International Summit on Evolutionary Change in Human-altered Environments" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-11. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  49. ^ National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
  50. ^ The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
  51. ^ "Genetic Monitoring: Development of Tools for Conservation and Management". Archived from the original on 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  52. ^ Rocky Mountain Research Station Wildlife Genetics Laboratory

External links