Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs


Rare species, including endangered ones, can be very valuable sources of information about evolutionary processes. They may be rare and valuable because: (1) they are evolutionary youngsters and could represent an entirely new evolutionary strategy of great scientific and practical value; (2) they are evolutionary relicts that have stored enormous amounts of genetic information of great worth; (3) they may represent endemic varieties that harbor a great deal of the genetic variability in the gene pool that would be of enormous value to a plant geneticist; the rarity of the plant is not necessarily correlated with the size of its gene pool; (4) they may represent unique ecological adaptations of great value to future generations. Studies of gene pools and the genetics of adaptation constitute a new and developing field of the future.