The role of GIScience in landscape and conservation genetics
In its natural framework, genetic information is embedded within a geographic context. Plants and animals are directly influenced by the specific characteristics of their surrounding environment. Therefore, spatial information is a potentially important element to be considered in trying to understand genetic resources. Advanced molecular technologies make it possible to efficiently measure genetic information. In parallel, considerable advancements in computer science have led to the development of sophisticated GIS software and methods. The joining of molecular biology and GIScience has enabled novel and complementary methods of tackling some of the challenging issues related to evolutionary processes. In particular, it conducted to the development of a method to detect signatures of natural selection within the genome. The use of GIScience is also crucial in livestock genetic resource conservation. Here decision making about conservation priorities is based on the simultaneous analysis of several criteria that may contribute to longterm sustainable breeding conditions, such as genetic, demographic, socioeconomic characteristics, environmental conditions, and role of a breed in a local or regional economy. This allows the identification of data combinations associated with effects specific to particular geographic areas, and calculation of synthetic indicators such as economic values and extinction probability.