The Exciting Potential and Remaining Uncertainties of Genetic Rescue

Donovan A. Bell, Zachary L. Robinson, W. Chris Funk, Sarah W. Fitzpatrick, Fred W. Allendorf, David A. Tallmon, Andrew R. Whiteley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Restoring gene flow into small, isolated populations can alleviate genetic load and decrease extinction risk (i.e., genetic rescue), yet gene flow is rarely augmented as a conservation strategy. Due to this discrepancy between opportunity and action, a recent call was made for widespread genetic rescue attempts. However, several aspects of augmenting gene flow are poorly understood, including the magnitude and duration of beneficial effects and when deleterious effects are likely to occur. We discuss the remaining uncertainties of genetic rescue in order to promote and direct future research and to hasten progress toward implementing this potentially powerful conservation strategy on a broader scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1070-1079
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • evolutionary rescue
  • extinction
  • genetic rescue
  • habitat loss
  • inbreeding depression
  • outbreeding depression


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