Survival of wildlife species depends on its neighbour's genes

Sep 24, 2013

(Phys.org) —Researchers at the University of Melbourne have collected critical insights into wildlife species' survival that could help future conservation efforts globally.

Lead author Professor Ary Hoffmann from the Bio21 Institute and Department of Genetics, University of Melbourne said, "Wildlife survival is not just dependent on their own genes but in the '' from the neighbouring species' as well."

Published this week in the journal Evolution his team reviewed 70 international studies on animal, plant and insect 'gene flow' dynamics across a range of landscapes.

"As climate change and human land use alters the environments of many , the adaptive capacity and evolution of a species depends on mating with neighbours who have the right gene variations (gene flow) needed for survival in the altered climatic conditions," he said.

"The key will be preserving 'gene flow' connections across a range of species and landscapes allowing new ones to provide the best chance for natural system to adapt to our rapidly changing world."

One of the studies assessed gene flow in Victorian Alpine grasses and .The data suggested high elevation grasses shared genes with lower altitude ones but the gene flow in alpine flowering plants was random which compromises future as climatic conditions change.

Researchers believe not just climate change but human land use such as farms and industries have isolated some animals and and have changed the available gene pools to mate with.

"As a solution, well-linked wildlife landscape corridors are important for gene flow but it still also depends on what genetic varieties are present."

This review paper shows us that gene flow needs to be considered in conservation management if wildlife species around the world are to survive.

Explore further: Herd mentality: Are we programmed to make bad decisions?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gene flow may help plants adapt to climate change

Jun 28, 2011

The traffic of genes among populations may help living things better adapt to climate change, especially when genes flow among groups most affected by warming, according to a UC Davis study of the Sierra Nevada ...

Feeding the future using seed banks

Jul 19, 2013

Better use of the world's seed banks could help provide a practical solution to future food shortages, according to an article in Nature, co-authored by a Natural History Museum scientist.

Tracking gene flow in marine plant evolution

Dec 10, 2012

A new method that could give a deeper insight into evolutional biology by tracing directionality in gene migration has just appeared in EPJ Data Science. Paolo Masucci from the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, at Uni ...

Recommended for you

Contrasting views of kin selection assessed

17 hours ago

In an article to be published in the January issue of BioScience, two philosophers tackle one of the most divisive arguments in modern biology: the value of the theory of "kin selection."

Microbiome may have shaped early human populations

Dec 16, 2014

We humans have an exceptional age structure compared to other animals: Our children remain dependent on their parents for an unusually long period and our elderly live an extremely long time after they have ...

DNA sheds light on why largest lemurs disappeared

Dec 16, 2014

Ancient DNA extracted from the bones and teeth of giant lemurs that lived thousands of years ago in Madagascar may help explain why the giant lemurs went extinct. It also explains what factors make some surviving ...

Stay complex, my friends

Dec 16, 2014

The KISS concept – keep it simple, stupid – may work for many situations. However, when it comes to evolution, complexity appears to be key for prosperity and propagating future generations.

Reshaping the horse through millennia

Dec 15, 2014

Whole genome sequencing of modern and ancient horses unveils the genes that have been selected by humans in the process of domestication through the latest 5.500 years, but also reveals the cost of this domestication. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.