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Genetic perspectives on invasions: the case of the Cladocera

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Using freshwater cladocerans as an example, this paper explores the contributions that genetic analyses are making to the field of invasion biology. Most importantly, this approach enables a quantification of the incidence of both recent and past invasions. By determining genetic divergence between European and North American lineages of cladocerans, it is possible to estimate the natural incidence of past exchange between these continents. The results of this analysis establish that the current pace of species invasions is extraordinary; present rates are nearly 50 000 times higher than historical levels. Genetic studies can also exploit molecular markers to localize the points of origin of invaders. Finally, genetic studies are poised to play an important role in monitoring invasions; the DNA bar-coding of life is now simple and rapid enough to enable the development of molecular identification systems.

L'exemple des cladocères d'eau douce illustre la contribution de l'analyse génétique au domaine de la biologie des invasions. Le plus important, c'est que cette approche permet de quantifier les incidences d'invasions, tant du passé que du présent. La détermination de la divergence génétique entre les lignées européennes et nord-américaines de Cladocères rend possible une estimation de la fréquence naturelle des échanges entre ces continents dans le passé. Les résultats de l'analyse révèlent un taux actuel d'invasion d'espèces tout à fait extraordinaire, de presque 50 000 fois plus élevé que dans le passé. Les études génétiques peuvent aussi localiser au moyen de marqueurs moléculaires les points d'origine des envahisseurs. Enfin, les études génétiques sont bien adaptées à jouer un rôle important dans la surveillance des invasions; le codage par ADN de la vie est actuellement suffisamment simple et rapide pour permettre l'établissement de systèmes d'identification moléculaire.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2002

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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