1. Establishing the genetic and molecular basis underlying adaptive traits is one of the major goals of evolutionary geneticists in order to understand the connection between genotype and phenotype and elucidate the mechanisms of evolutionary change. Despite considerable effort to address this question, there remain relatively few systems in which the genes shaping adaptations have been identified. 2. Here, we review the experimental tools that have been applied to document the molecular basis underlying evolution in several natural systems, in order to highlight their benefits, limitations and suitability. In most cases, a combination of DNA, RNA and functional methodologies with field experiments will be needed to uncover the genes and mechanisms shaping adaptation in nature.
Keywords: DNA mapping; QTL; adaptation; candidate genes; expression; functional analysis; resequencing.