A framework for community and ecosystem genetics: From genes to ecosystems

Thomas G. Whitham, Joseph K. Bailey, Jennifer A. Schweitzer, Stephen M. Shuster, Randy K. Bangert, Carri J. Leroy, Eric V. Lonsdorf, Gery J. Allan, Stephen P. DiFazio, Brad M. Potts, Dylan G. Fischer, Catherine A. Gehring, Richard L. Lindroth, Jane C. Marks, Stephen C. Hart, Gina M. Wimp, Stuart C. Wooley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

870 Scopus citations


Can heritable traits in a single species affect an entire ecosystem? Recent studies show that such traits in a common tree have predictable effects on community structure and ecosystem processes. Because these 'community and ecosystem phenotypes' have a genetic basis and are heritable, we can begin to apply the principles of population and quantitative genetics to place the study of complex communities and ecosystems within an evolutionary framework. This framework could allow us to understand, for the first time, the genetic basis of ecosystem processes, and the effect of such phenomena as climate change and introduced transgenic organisms on entire communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-523
Number of pages14
JournalNature Reviews Genetics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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