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16 février 2017

Conservation genetics in the European Union – Biases, gaps and future directions [Biological Conservation]

Keywords : biodiversity, conservation biology, environmental policy, genetic markers, management, threatened species

The importance of genetic diversity for the assessment and maintenance of biodiversity is widely recognised, although not yet explicitly incorporated into conservation decision making in many European Union Member States. A detailed assessment of 4311 genetic studies relevant for the conservation and management of European species revealed that research is extensive and, therefore, could be more effectively implemented in existing conservation programs. However, research was overly biased towards the study of species with an economic value or iconic status, with research on threatened species or species with undetermined conservation status being scarce.(...)

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16 février 2017

No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide [Nature Communications]

Keywords : invasive species, macroecology

Although research on human-mediated exchanges of species has substantially intensified during the last centuries, we know surprisingly little about temporal dynamics of alien species accumulations across regions and taxa. Using a novel database of 45,813 first records of 16,926 established alien species, we show that the annual rate of first records worldwide has increased during the last 200 years, with 37% of all first records reported most recently (1970–2014). (...)

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15 février 2017

Comparative genomics reveals high biological diversity and specific adaptations in the industrially and medically important fungal genus Aspergillus [Genome Biology]

Keywords : Aspergillus, genome sequencing, comparative genomics, fungal biology

The fungal genus Aspergillus is of critical importance to humankind. Species include those with industrial applications, important pathogens of humans, animals and crops, a source of potent carcinogenic contaminants of food, and an important genetic model. The genome sequences of eight aspergilli have already been explored to investigate aspects of fungal biology, raising questions about evolution and specialization within this genus.(...)

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15 février 2017

A novel locus on chromosome 1 underlies the evolution of a melanic plumage polymorphism in a wild songbird [Royal Society Open Science]

Jade Bruxaux, Christophe Thébaud

Understanding the mechanisms responsible for phenotypic diversification within and among species ultimately rests with linking naturally occurring mutations to functionally and ecologically significant traits. Colour polymorphisms are of great interest in this context because discrete colour patterns within a population are often controlled by just a few genes in a common environment. We investigated how and why phenotypic diversity arose and persists in the Zosterops borbonicus white-eye of Reunion (Mascarene archipelago), a colour polymorphic songbird in which all highland populations contain individuals belonging to either a brown or a grey plumage morph.(...)

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15 février 2017

An assessment of the reliability of quantitative genetics estimates in study systems with high rate of extra-pair reproduction and low recruitment [Heredity]

Quantitative genetics approaches, and particularly animal models, are widely used to assess the genetic (co)variance of key fitness related traits and infer adaptive potential of wild populations. Despite the importance of precision and accuracy of genetic variance estimates and their potential sensitivity to various ecological and population specific factors, their reliability is rarely tested explicitly. Here, we used simulations and empirical data collected from an 11-year study on tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), a species showing a high rate of extra-pair paternity and a low recruitment rate, to assess the importance of identity errors, structure and size of the pedigree on quantitative genetic estimates in our dataset.(...)

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