Flow cytometry, a method of rapidly characterizing optical properties of cells and cell components within individuals, populations, and communities, is advancing research in several areas of ecology, systematics, and evolutionary biology. Measuring the light emitted or scattered from cells or cell components, often in combination with specific stains, allows a multitude of physical and genetic attributes to be evaluated simultaneously and the resulting information to be rapidly processed. As a result, the technique has enabled large-scale comparative analyses of genome-size evolution, taxonomic identification and delineation, and studies of polyploids, reproductive biology, and experimental evolution. It is also being used to characterize the structure and composition of microbial communities. Here, we outline the nature of these contributions, as well as future applications, and provide an online summary of protocols and sampling methods.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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