The Tools of Conservation Genetics

The technique that revolutionized modern molecular genetics is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR has had major implications for conservation genetics. This technique allows the amplification of minute amounts of DNA, which can then be used for analysis. Amplification is critical for the study of endangered species, because biological samples may be obtained from nontraditional sources, such as hair, feathers, sloughed skin, or feces from which only small amounts of DNA are generally available. Once DNA has been obtained, conservation geneticists are able to use a wide arsenal of tools to characterize the genetics of endangered and threatened species and populations.

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