Over the past twenty years conservation genetics has progressed from being mainly a theory-based field of population biology to a full-grown empirical discipline. Technological developments in molecular genetics have led to extensive use of neutral molecular markers such as microsatellites in conservation biology. This has allowed assessment of the impact of genetic drift on genetic variation, of the level of inbreeding within populations, and of the amount of gene flow between or within populations. Recent developments in genomic techniques, including next generation sequencing, whole genome scans and gene-expression pattern analysis, have made it possible to step up from a limited number of neutral markers to genome-wide estimates of functional genetic variation. Here, we focus on how the transition of conservation genetics to conservation genomics leads to insights into the dynamics of selectively important variation and its interaction with environmental conditions, and into the mechanisms behind this interaction.
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