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      Genetic variation increases during biological invasion by a Cuban lizard.

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          Abstract

          A genetic paradox exists in invasion biology: how do introduced populations, whose genetic variation has probably been depleted by population bottlenecks, persist and adapt to new conditions? Lessons from conservation genetics show that reduced genetic variation due to genetic drift and founder effects limits the ability of a population to adapt, and small population size increases the risk of extinction. Nonetheless, many introduced species experiencing these same conditions during initial introductions persist, expand their ranges, evolve rapidly and become invasive. To address this issue, we studied the brown anole, a worldwide invasive lizard. Genetic analyses indicate that at least eight introductions have occurred in Florida from across this lizard's native range, blending genetic variation from different geographic source populations and producing populations that contain substantially more, not less, genetic variation than native populations. Moreover, recently introduced brown anole populations around the world originate from Florida, and some have maintained these elevated levels of genetic variation. Here we show that one key to invasion success may be the occurrence of multiple introductions that transform among-population variation in native ranges to within-population variation in introduced areas. Furthermore, these genetically variable populations may be particularly potent sources for introductions elsewhere. The growing problem of invasive species introductions brings considerable economic and biological costs. If these costs are to be mitigated, a greater understanding of the causes, progression and consequences of biological invasions is needed.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Nature
          Nature
          Springer Science and Business Media LLC
          1476-4687
          0028-0836
          Sep 09 2004
          : 431
          : 7005
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Biology, Campus Box 1137, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri 63130-4899, USA. kolbe@biology.wustl.edu
          Article
          nature02807
          10.1038/nature02807
          15356629
          3538a683-8a87-4345-8ab3-812e0802c374
          History

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