Although the potential genetic risks associated with rare or endangered plants and small populations have been discussed previously, the practical role of population genetics in plant conservation remains unclear. Using theory and the available data, we examine the effects of genetic drift, inbreeding, and gene flow on genetic diversity and fitness in rare plants and small populations. We identify those circumstances that are likely to put these plant species and populations at genetic risk. Warning signs that populations may be vulnerable include changes in factors such as population size, degree of isolation, and fitness. When possible, we suggest potential management strategies.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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