Rius, Marc, Bourne, Steve, Hornsby, Harry Guy and Chapman, Mark A.
Applications of next-generation sequencing to the study of biological invasions
Current Zoology, 61, (3), .
Through the widespread implementation of next-generation sequencing (NGS), analyses of the whole genome (the entire DNA content) and the whole transcriptome (the genes being expressed) are becoming commonplace. NGS enables the analysis of a vast amount of previously unattainable genetic information. Despite this potential, NGS has yet to be widely imple- mented in genetic studies of biological invasions. The study of the genomic causes and consequences of biological invasions al- lows a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms underpinning the invasion process. In this review, we present a brief introduction to NGS followed by a synthesis of current research in the genomics and transcriptomics of adaptation and coloniza- tion. We then highlight research opportunities in the field, including: (1) assembling genomes and transcriptomes of non-model organisms, (2) identifying genomic regions and candidate genes underlying evolutionary processes, and (3) studying the adaptive role of gene expression variation. In particular, because introduced species face a broad range of physiological and biotic chal- lenges when colonizing novel and variable environments, transcriptomics will enable the study of gene regulatory pathways that may be responsible for acclimation or adaptation. To conclude, we identify a number of research approaches that will aid our fu- ture understanding of biological invasions
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