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Maryland University Researchers developed a tool to predict how organisms respond to climate change

Oct 6, 2014 18:29 IST

Researchers at University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Appalachian Laboratory have developed a tool to predict how organisms may respond to climate change.

The information about the tool was given in a study titled Ecological genomics meets community-level modeling of biodiversity: mapping the genomic landscape of current and future environmental adaptation. The study was published in Journal Ecology Letters on 1 October 2014. The author of the study is Matthew Fitzpatrick of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and University of Vermont

The newly developed technique studies the adaptation pattern of organisms in response to climate change by combining genetic analyses with a new modeling approach for the first time.

With this technique, the researchers studied the local adaptation to climate at the molecular level by indentifying which gene control climate adaptation and how these vary between individuals.

For this purpose, the team of researchers sampled the genetic code of 400 trees from 31 locations across northern North America and combined the genetic variations with computer modelling techniques to map how important genes differ within balsam poplar and to locate where trees may have the best chance of survival in a rapidly warming world.

Researchers feel that this type of modeling of variation in genetic makeup represents an important advance in understanding how climate change may impact the biodiversity.

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