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Ecological Genetics

On July 26th, 2012, Posted by Author No Comments

Definition of Ecological Genetics

Did you get here looking for an essay on Ecological Genetics? Here are some tips on Ecological Genetics prepared by our coursework help service to point you in the right direction. You may not be able to use this paper, however, if you need some cheap assignment help from our qualified assignment help team, get in touch with us and we will ensure that you get a top-notch assignment writing service. To return to the definition, Ecological Genetics can be defined as a branch of genetics that deals with the study of the genetic makeup of different organisms that live in an ecological environment, and the changes impacted on the genetic composition of the organisms by the changes in the environment.

ecological geneticsAccording to Merrell (1981), Ecological Genetics is a combination certain aspects of population genetics and population ecology, although in other aspects it differs from both of them. He adds that the study of the “adaptation of the natural populations to their physical and biological environments, and the mechanisms by which they respond to environmental change” is what Ecological Genetics is all about.

The populations in a particular ecological area are adapted to live in that environment, both physically as well as genetically. When changes occur in the environmental conditions, these populations respond to a certain extent to these changes that could lead to further adaptations. Hence, Ecological Genetics is not a study of a static population in a static environment, but a study of the dynamic changes and interactions in the populations and the environment.

What are the different aspects studied in Ecological Genetics?

The data collected and analysed in Ecological Genetics include geographical distribution, population number or population density (of the static as well as the migrant populations), and genetics or the gene frequencies of a population. Hence, Ecological Genetics is actually studying evolution at the level it occurs.

It has to be noted that Ecological Genetics is not always studied under natural field conditions. The laboratory with an artificial environment is also necessary in order to conveniently study the genetic makeup of the organism.

For instance, the Streisfield lab researches on the adaptive divergence of natural plant populations by integrating ecological genetics and molecular evolution. These researches mainly focus on one aspect, that of the natural colour variations that occur in populations of Californian wildflower called Mimilus aurantiacus (see picture above). “These projects combine field studies that measure the strength of natural selection with molecular and genomic studies to try to identify and functionally characterize the genetic targets of this selection”.

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