Genetic rescue restores long-term viability of an isolated population of adders (Vipera berus)

Authors: Thomas Madsen; Jon Loman; Lewis Anderberg; Håkan Anderberg; Arthur Georges & Beata Ujvari

Source: Current Biology (NOV 2020)

Brief summary of the paper:

Climate change is regarded as a major threat to global biodiversity [1]. However, another key driver of declines in biodiversity during the last century has been, and still is, the devastating impact of anthropogenic habitat destruction.

Human degradation of natural habitats has resulted in large, formerly homogeneous areas becoming exceedingly isolated and fragmented, resulting in reduced genetic diversity and a concomitant increased vulnerability to pathogens and increased risk of inbreeding.

In order to restore genetic diversity in small isolated or fragmented populations, genetic rescue — that is, an intervention in which unrelated individuals are brought into a population, leading to introduction of novel alleles — has been shown to reduce the deleterious effects of inbreeding