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Reduced genetic variation at marker loci in small populations has been well documented, whereas the relationship between quantitative genetic variation and population size has attracted little empirical investigation. Here we demonstrate that both neutral and quantitative genetic variation are reduced in small populations of a fragmented plant metapopulation, and that both drift and selective change are enhanced in small populations. Measures of neutral genetic differentiation (F(ST)) and quantitative genetic differentiation (Q(ST)) in two traits were higher among small demes, and Q(ST) between small populations exceeded that expected from drift alone. This suggests that fragmented populations experience both enhanced genetic drift and divergent selection on phenotypic traits, and that drift affects variation in both neutral markers and quantitative traits. These results highlight the need to integrate natural selection into conservation genetic theory, and suggests that small populations may represent reservoirs of genetic variation adaptive within a wide range of environments.
|Item Type:||Journal Article, refereed|
|Communities & Collections:||07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies|
|DDC:||570 Life sciences; biology|
590 Animals (Zoology)
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||genetic divergence, genetic drift, habitat fragmentation, population size, conservation genetics, Ranunculus reptans|
|Date:||1 March 2007|
|Deposited On:||11 Feb 2008 12:28|
|Last Modified:||27 Nov 2013 22:34|
|Citations:||Web of Science®. Times Cited: 51|
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