Genetic material is transmitted from parents to offspring in a predictable manner, and this is why molecular markers allow us to infer the genetic relationships of individuals. This does not simply mean that we can use genetic data to determine whether two individuals are siblings or first-cousins. In molecular ecology, the calculation of genetic relationships often takes into account the transmission of particular alleles through hundreds, thousands or even millions of generations. In later chapters we will look at some of the ways in which both recent and historical genealogical relationships can be unravelled, but first we must understand how different genomic regions are passed down from one generation to the next. Not all DNA is inherited in the same way, and understanding different modes of inheritance is crucial before we can predict how different regions of DNA might behave under various ecological and evolutionary scenarios.
Molecular Ecology Joanna Freeland © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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