Targeted sequence capture as a powerful tool for evolutionary analysis

Am J Bot. 2012 Feb;99(2):312-9. doi: 10.3732/ajb.1100323. Epub 2012 Jan 19.


Next-generation sequencing technologies (NGS) have revolutionized biological research by significantly increasing data generation while simultaneously decreasing the time to data output. For many ecologists and evolutionary biologists, the research opportunities afforded by NGS are substantial; even for taxa lacking genomic resources, large-scale genome-level questions can now be addressed, opening up many new avenues of research. While rapid and massive sequencing afforded by NGS increases the scope and scale of many research objectives, whole genome sequencing is often unwarranted and unnecessarily complex for specific research questions. Recently developed targeted sequence enrichment, coupled with NGS, represents a beneficial strategy for enhancing data generation to answer questions in ecology and evolutionary biology. This marriage of technologies offers researchers a simple method to isolate and analyze a few to hundreds, or even thousands, of genes or genomic regions from few to many samples in a relatively efficient and effective manner. These strategies can be applied to questions at both the infra- and interspecific levels, including those involving parentage, gene flow, divergence, phylogenetics, reticulate evolution, and many more. Here we provide a brief overview of targeted sequence enrichment, and emphasize the power of this technology to increase our ability to address a wide range of questions of interest to ecologists and evolutionary biologists, particularly for those working with taxa for which few genomic resources are available.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence*
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Ecosystem
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Epigenomics / methods*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Expressed Sequence Tags
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Gene Flow
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Genetic Loci
  • Genetic Variation
  • Phylogeny
  • Phylogeography