Congratulations to SNPits blogger Stephanie for her new paper on raccoon relatedness under different experimental feeding systems. Stephanie and her coauthors found that clumped feeding resulted in shifted home range distributions of raccoons, thereby disrupting natural patterns of relatedness. Mammals tend to have one sex that disperses so that related individuals do not mate with their relatives. This research has implications for urban mammal populations as availability of food or other resources may not be evenly distributed across a landscape.
Hybrids for Conservation
Say we have two species (A and B) that hybridize, then the hybrids backcross to species A. If a genomic region of species B confers an adaptive advantage in species A, then that region will be selected for; this is known as adaptive introgression. However, some conservationists would no longer see species A as a species worthy of conservation because of the presence of genomic material from species B (despite the introgression happening in nature). This article discusses conservation issues related to hybrids, noting that hybrids exist along a continuum of diversity between two genomic backgrounds.
Mitogenomes: Enough is Enough! OR Enough is Enough?
This paper argues that science has all the mitogenomes it needs and it is time to focus resources on both analyzing the mitogenomes currently available, and collecting new types of data. Sequencing mitogenomes from non-model species has become easier with next-generation sequencing technologies. While the author comes at this question from a community metagenomic perspective, this paper begs the question: should we keep sequencing mitogenomes for conservation questions?