Mutation load is the spectre of species conservation

Genomic regions conserved during evolution are important, but they have been ignored in conservation genetics. Managing deleterious mutations in such ultraconserved elements by genomics-informed conservation would make populations more resilient to future genetic drift.

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Fig. 1: The segregation load and drift load in conservation.

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Acknowledgements

I thank H. Morales, K. Norris, J. Groombridge, L. Spurgin, J. Lighten, C. Ryan, C. Bortoluzzi, M. Bosse and members of the Conservation Genetics Specialist Group of the IUCN for their comments on the manuscript and stimulating discussions.

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Correspondence to Cock van Oosterhout.

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van Oosterhout, C. Mutation load is the spectre of species conservation. Nat Ecol Evol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-1204-8

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