Over the past decade, long-term studies of vertebrate populations have been the focus of many quantitative genetic studies. As a result, we have a clearer understanding of why some fitness-related traits are heritable and under selection, but are apparently not evolving. An exciting extension of this work is to identify the genes underlying phenotypic variation in natural populations. The advent of next-generation sequencing and high-throughput single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping platforms means that mapping studies are set to become widespread in those wild populations for whom appropriate phenotypic data and DNA samples are available. Here, we highlight the progress made in this area and define evolutionary genetic questions that have become tractable with the arrival of these new genomics technologies.
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