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Ecological Genomics Gets Down to Genes—and Function

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Science  18 Dec 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5960, pp. 1620-1621
DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5960.1620

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In recent years, ecologists and molecular biologists have been finding common ground, to the benefit of both disciplines. Some of the results of this detente were on display last month, when about 90 researchers and students gathered to discuss progress in ecological genomics—the application of genomic techniques and resources to the study of ecology. Some are applying tools such as microarrays or RNA interference to their favorite study animal or plant. Others are developing genetic maps and databases of gene fragments for nonmodel organisms, with the goal of eventually sequencing those genomes. These efforts are pinpointing genes involved in ecologically relevant traits, and researchers are beginning to figure out the roles those genes play in an organism's function and evolution.