Community genetics in the time of next-generation molecular technologies

Gugerli, Felix; Brandl, Roland; Castagneyrol, Bastien; Franc, Alain; Jactel, Hervé; Koelewijn, Hans-Peter; Martin, Francis; Peter, Martina; Pritsch, Karin; Schroder, Hilke; Smulders, Marinus J.M.; Kremer, Antoine; Ziegenhagen, Birgit. 2013 Community genetics in the time of next-generation molecular technologies. Molecular Ecology, 22 (12). 3198-3207.

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Understanding the interactions of co-occurring species within and across trophic levels provides key information needed for understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that underlie biological diversity. As genetics has only recently been integrated into the study of community-level interactions, the time is right for a critical evaluation of potential new, gene-based approaches to studying communities. Next generation molecular techniques, used in parallel with field-based observations and manipulative experiments across spatio-temporal gradients, are key to expanding our understanding of community-level processes. Here, we introduce a variety of “-omics” tools, with recent studies of plant–insect herbivores and of ectomycorrhizal systems providing a detailed example of how next generation approaches can revolutionize our understanding of interspecific interactions. We suggest ways that novel technologies may convert community genetics from a field that relies on correlative inference to one that reveals causal mechanisms of genetic co-variation and adaptations within communities.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISSN: 0962-1083
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Freely available on the publisher's website - Official URL link provides full text. The EC-supported Network of Excellence Evoltree ( formed a group of scientists involved in and actively contributing to Jointly Executed Research Activities on community genetics in forest ecosystems. In addition to the main authors, the group includes S. Augustin, M. Brändle, C. Burban, J. Burczyk, S. Cavers (CEH), I. Chybicki, C. Conord, E. Cremer, J. DeWoody, K. Donges, B. Fady, L. Karlinski, C. Kerdelhué, B. Kieliszewska-Rokicka, G. Kost, M. Kulczyk-Skrzeszewska, F. Lakatos, F. Lefèvre, S. Liepelt, S. Oddou-Muratorio, K.-H. Rexer, M. Rudawska, M. Schädler, G. Taylor, K. Tuba, M. Viger, F. Villani, M. Villar.
Additional Keywords: community genetics, trees, forests, ectomycorrhizal symbiosis, forest ecosystems, gene-to-gene interactions, herbivorous insects, population genomics, quantitative trait analysis
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 14 Jun 2013 11:30 +0 (UTC)

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