Is there potential, now or in the future, to identify individuals within a population and calculate/estimate the size of a species population?
There is potential. We currently use relatively conserved and high copy regions of the genome to identify taxa, but the inherent properties of these DNA regions, which makes them well suited for species identification, also makes them less than ideal for individual/population level assessment. You would need to look at a more quickly evolving region of the genome, but these tend to be much more difficult to work with for various reasons. We’ve made some initial forays into this and some studies suggest that it may be possible to identify different haplotypes within the same species, but essentially this is still very much in the research phase. See Sigsgaard et al., 2020 for a recent review and synthesis of progress in this area.
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