Anthropogenically induced environmental change is causing populations to go extinct at unprecedented rates. This has created a triage situation where the preservation of genetically distinct populations could be prioritized if methods could be developed to quickly identify them. Traditional “common garden” methods of identifying traits showing genetic differences among populations are often too slow to be useful. I will argue that modern genomics is enabling discovery of DNA markers that are phenotype informative for skin pigmentation patterns, coat color, eye color and body size that could be used as an index of genetic distinctness and therefore conservation priority. I believe that the potential role of phenotypically informative SNPs has not previously been recognized because of the paradigm that local adaptation mostly involves quantitative traits determined by many genetic loci (QTL) of small effect.