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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED BIOSYSTEMATICS AND TAXONOMY FOR PARASITES AMONG UNGULATES AND OTHER VERTEBRATES Title: Genetics

Authors
item Cook, Joseph -
item Kholodova, Marina -
item Brochmann, Christian -
item Fedorov, Vadim -
item Talbot, Sandra -
item Taylor, Eric -
item Vainola, Risto -
item Hoberg, Eric
item Magnusson, Kristinn -

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2012
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Knowledge of genetic variation in populations of free-ranging animals, parasites and pathogens is the foundation for understanding the history, current status and future of complex biological systems. Further, maintaining genetic variation in wild populations of Arctic organisms is fundamental to the long-term persistence of high latitude biodiversity. Variability is important because it provides options for species to respond to changing environmental conditions and novel challenges such as emerging pathogens or invasive species. As individual species decline in abundance and their geographic distributions shrink, genetic variability is also often eroded. It is important to realize that we have not yet developed a basic understanding of how genetic variability is partitioned across space or time in the Arctic. Furthermore, we lack information on how genetic variation, and the related concept of evolutionary potential, is generated and maintained for most Arctic organisms, whether free-living or parasitic. Fortunately, new technologies and analytical approaches now afford the possibility of much more comprehensive and refined views of genetic variation, but realizing the potential of these new approaches will foremost require a renewed effort to inventory and rigorously document Arctic diversity at all levels. A revitalized effort to explore diversity will provide the foundation necessary for a variety of theoretical and applied endeavors, ranging from uncovering the history of diversification and extinction of organisms, to tracking and mitigating emerging pathogens and invasive species, to developing robust projections for the long-term security of subsistence or traditional foods.

Technical Abstract: Maintaining genetic variation in wild populations of Arctic organisms is fundamental to the long-term persistence of high latitude biodiversity. Variability is important because it provides options for species to respond to changing environmental conditions and novel challenges such as emerging pathogens or invasive species. As individual species decline in abundance and their geographic distributions shrink, genetic variability is also often eroded. It is important to realize that we have not yet developed a basic understanding of how genetic variability is partitioned across space or time in the Arctic. Furthermore, we lack information on how genetic variation, and the related concept of evolutionary potential, is generated and maintained for most Arctic organisms, whether free-living or parasitic. Fortunately, new technologies and analytical approaches now afford the possibility of much more comprehensive and refined views of genetic variation, but realizing the potential of these new approaches will foremost require a renewed effort to inventory and rigorously document Arctic diversity at all levels. A revitalized effort to explore diversity will provide the foundation necessary for a variety of theoretical and applied endeavors, ranging from uncovering the history of diversification and extinction of organisms, to tracking and mitigating emerging pathogens and invasive species, to developing robust projections for the long-term security of subsistence or traditional foods.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014