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  1. SHOULD DOI send DNA samples to Texas A&M to determine the distinct population segments of each herd as a special status species, Evolutionarily Significant Unit and the Distinct Population Segment?

    http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1935&context=elq. excerpt (Genetic data are not, however, a prerequisite for ESU identification. If direct observation or geographic separation indicates reproductive isolation and evolutionary distinctiveness, for example, the agency can designate an ESU with no genetic data at all

    A hybrid concept called the evolutionarily significant unit (ESU) links the biological concepts of the population and the species to the legal concept of the DPS. B. The Evolutionarily Significant Unit and the Distinct Population Segment The ESU concept arose not out of taxonomy, law, or biological systematics, but rather as a practical response to the particular challenges of conservation.32 Robin S. Waples codified the ESU in the administrative context in 1991, defining it as a population unit that, first, “[i]s substantially reproductively isolated from other conspecific population units,” and, second, “[r]epresents an important component in the evolutionary legacy of the species.”” Though the biological literature has elaborated the ESU into several related concepts, Waples’s 1991 definition has remained in force at NMFS. 4 Genetically unique and isolated populations represent independent evolutionary units that contribute important diversity to the species as a whole, and thus merit individual protection. Genetic data plainly underlie the ESU; such information can simultaneously estimate the degree of reproductive isolation and evolutionary distinctiveness. Genetic data are not, however, a prerequisite for ESU identification. If direct observation or geographic separation indicates reproductive isolation and evolutionary distinctiveness, for example, the agency can designate an ESU with no genetic data at all.

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