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Sampling strategies and geographic scale for capture of diversity and conservation of rare alleles

Ex situ conservation, through collection and storage of seed or cryogenic preservation of tissue cultures, is a very flexible tool and a good complement to in situ conservation. The vast majority of genetic diversity can be captured in relatively small in situ collections, however, rare alleles are much more challenging to comprehensively conserve. Populations in the core of a species range are likely to include high levels of genetic diversity, but peripheral or disjunct populations are more likely to contain alleles not found elsewhere. Dr. Gapare conducted his PhD research on how best to allocate resources for sampling for ex situ gene conservation using Sitka spruce as a model species. He found that core and peripheral populations have strikingly different within-population genetic structure that requires different sampling strategies to fully capture. He also found that sampling strategy is not that important in core, high density populations, but becomes critical in disjunct, peripheral populations.

Funding: Forest Investment Account through Forest Genetics Council of BC
Primary participants: [ Gapare | Aitken | C.Ritland ]

for More information

  • Gapare, W.J., A. Yanchuk, and S.N. Aitken. 2007. Optimal sampling strategies for capture of genetic diversity differ between core and peripheral populations of Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr. Conservation Genetics. Published online DOI 10.1007/s10592-007-9353-8.
  • Gapare, W.J. and S.N. Aitken. 2005. Strong spatial genetic structure in peripheral but not core populations of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) Molecular Ecology 14: 2659-2667
  • Gapare, W.J., S.N. Aitken and C. Ritland. 2005. Genetic diversity of core and peripheral Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr) populations: implications for conservation of widespread species. Biological Conservation 123: 113-123.
  • Gapare, W. J. and S. N. Aitken. 2002. Sampling strategies for capture of diversity and conservation of rare alleles. In: Proceedings of the Canadian Tree Improvement Association, Poplar Council of Canada, and the Western Forest Genetics Association, “Integrating Tree Improvement with Sustainable Forest Management Practice” University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, July 22-25, 2002.

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