Review of Current Conservation Genetic Analyses of Northeast Pacific Sharks

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Biological Sciences


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences


Conservation genetics is an applied science that utilizes molecular tools to help solve problems in species conservation and management. It is an interdisciplinary specialty in which scientists apply the study of genetics in conjunction with traditional ecological fieldwork and other techniques to explore molecular variation, population boundaries, and evolutionary relationships with the goal of enabling resource managers to better protect biodiversity and identify unique populations. Several shark species in the northeast Pacific (NEP) have been studied using conservation genetics techniques, which are discussed here. The primary methods employed to study population genetics of sharks have historically been nuclear microsatellites and mitochondrial (mt) DNA. These markers have been used to assess genetic diversity, mating systems, parentage, relatedness, and genetically distinct populations to inform management decisions. Novel approaches in conservation genetics, including next-generation DNA and RNA sequencing, environmental DNA (eDNA), and epigenetics are just beginning to be applied to elasmobranch evolution, physiology, and ecology. Here, we review the methods and results of past studies, explore future directions for shark conservation genetics, and discuss the implications of molecular research and techniques for the long-term management of shark populations in the NEP.

Publication Title

Advances in Marine Biology



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