The future is now: Amplicon sequencing and sequence capture usher in the conservation genomics era

Molecular Ecology Resources
By:  and 



The genomics revolution has initiated a new era of population genetics where genome-wide data are frequently used to understand complex patterns of population structure and selection. However, the application of genomic tools to inform management and conservation has been somewhat rare outside a few well studied species. Fortunately, two recently developed approaches, amplicon sequencing and sequence capture, have the potential to significantly advance the field of conservation genomics. Here, amplicon sequencing refers to highly multiplexed PCR followed by high-throughput sequencing (e.g., GTseq), and sequence capture refers to using capture probes to isolate loci from reduced-representation libraries (e.g., Rapture). Both approaches allow sequencing of thousands of individuals at relatively low costs, do not require any specialized equipment for library preparation, and generate data that can be analyzed without sophisticated computational infrastructure. Here, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each method and provide a decision framework for geneticists who are looking to integrate these methods into their research programme. While it will always be important to consider the specifics of the biological question and system, we believe that amplicon sequencing is best suited for projects aiming to genotype <500 loci on many individuals (>1,500) or for species where continued monitoring is anticipated (e.g., long-term pedigrees). Sequence capture, on the other hand, is best applied to projects including fewer individuals or where >500 loci are required. Both of these techniques should smooth the transition from traditional genetic techniques to genomics, helping to usher in the conservation genomics era.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The future is now: Amplicon sequencing and sequence capture usher in the conservation genomics era
Series title Molecular Ecology Resources
DOI 10.1111/1755-0998.12998
Volume 19
Issue 4
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description 9 p.
First page 795
Last page 803
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