Conservation should protect the most genetically unique species, not just the most rare

11 April 2014

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A new approach has been pioneered by a collaboration of universities that could provide a method to decide how limited conservation funds should be spent. The technique uses genetics to ascertain how many relatives a bird species has, evolutionarily speaking, with the aim of identifying and prioritising species that demonstrate the most genetic uniqueness for conservation efforts, rather than simply those that are few in number, writes Dr David Redding (UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment) in The Conversation.