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We strive to understand the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that generate and maintain biological diversity using population genomics, experimental manipulations, and field studies. Our goal is to not only test basic ecological and evolutionary theory, but also directly inform policy and management decisions that will ultimately determine the fate of biodiversity.

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Funk lab and colleagues publish new paper on the exciting potential and remaining uncertainties of genetic rescue

Genetic rescue has been used as a management strategy to increase population sizes of mountain pygmy possums (Photo: Andrew Weeks)

Theory and data show that genetic rescue–a decrease in extinction probability due to gene flow–is an effective management tool for small, isolated populations. Despite this, genetic rescue is rarely used to boost population sizes, which has spurred a call for a paradigm shift for widespread use of genetic rescue. In this opinion piece led by Donovan Bell and Zak Robinson from the Whiteley lab at the University of Montana, we argue that although genetic rescue is promising and should be applied more widely, several questions remain regarding the duration and magnitude of genetic rescue effects and when negative effects might occur. In addition, we conclude by highlighting how new genomic methods can improve implementation of genetic rescue.

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