What we’re reading: January 9, 2015

The Challenge of Translating Genomics into Conservation Practice
A must read for academics or applied conservationists interested in applying genomic techniques to a conservation problem. We’ve written about challenges with conservation genomics before. While this article (sub) highlights the potential value of genomics to conservation, it highlights two important limitations. First, this article puts in no uncertain terms that academia and applied conservation occupy different spheres. As such there can be a substantial disconnect between the currently very academic pursuit of genomics and the use of information for policy and management. Second, the authors highlight the tension than academia and life sciences companies will continue to focus on genomics and may eventually squeeze out the technologies that allowed applied conservationists autonomy in their conservation genetic pursuits.

Best Camera Trap Photos of 2014
Camera traps allow us to see animals in their natural habitat, just being themselves. These cameras are documenting the locations of rare and elusive animals and showing us novel behaviors. BBC put together a beautiful album of the best camera trap photos of 2014.

Allele Variation Over Time
This study (open) discusses a new type of genotype by environment interaction, where the environment is time. Maybe this is not too surprising as the environment changes over time and population level allele frequencies try to adjust to the environment. But this study associated when people were born with which FTO allele they had, FTO being a gene associated with obesity, and the person’s body mass index (BMI). The authors found a correlation between birth cohort (time) and increasing prevalence of the FTO allele associated with higher weight. Of course this has implications for other species, how does the ever changing environment change allele frequencies in short time periods, especially for species with short generation times.

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