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Trends Ecol Evol. 2009 May;24(5):263-70. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2008.11.013. Epub 2009 Mar 5.

Value of captive populations for quantitative genetics research.

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Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College London, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, UK.


Evolutionary biologists have usefully applied quantitative genetics methods to the pedigrees of wild animals to understand how natural selection shapes phenotypic diversity in nature. Despite recent reviews on the importance of rapid evolutionary changes for conservation biology and the increasing concerns about potentially adverse effects of adaptation to captivity for wild species, the integration of evolutionary-based knowledge into conservation programs remains elusive. Here we review the value of long-term pedigrees and associated phenotypic data of captive stocks for evolutionary research and conservation programs. We emphasize that using zoological records to assess quantitative genetics parameters represents a promising avenue to study adaptation to captivity.

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