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Chapter 21: Insights Gained Through Recent Technological Advancements for Conservation Genetics of Pacific Lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus)

Apr 1, 2016


In the last decade there has been acceleration in genetic studies conducted on Pacific lamprey. Here we discuss ways in which recent technological advancements have opened new research avenues that were previously intractable. Although not an exhaustive review of recent studies and findings, I discuss key results that demonstrate new genetic tools and analyses and how they may be used to address remaining critical uncertainties related to the conservation management and biology of this species. Notably, these genetic tools have allowed identification to species, as well as tracking and ageing of larval and juvenile Pacific Lamprey, which are especially challenging to study due to their diminutive size. These abilities are necessary for monitoring success of conservation strategies such as translocation and artificial propagation. Further, the large number of recently identified genetic markers (1000s of single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs) has allowed sufficient power to separate the markers into groups that are relatively strongly or weakly influenced by selection (i.e. putatively adaptive and neutral markers, respectively). The adaptive markers resolve large divergence among Pacific Lamprey collections that are distributed in different geographic regions. A potential driver of this adaptive divergence is thought to be natural selection that is acting on genes underlying body size in Pacific Lamprey adults. This selective mechanism has unknown effects on the fitness of particular variants when they are translocated to habitats to which they may not have volitionally migrated. Thus these new adaptive markers may provide useful context for understanding fitness of translocated individuals. Finally, we discuss ways in which similar technology applied to Pacific Lamprey could be beneficial if extended to address conservation issues related to other lamprey species.



Hess, J.E. 2016. Chapter 21: Insights gained through recent technological advancements for conservation genetics of Pacific Lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus). Pp.149-159 in A. Orlov and R. J. Beamish, editors: Jawless Fishes of the World Vol 1. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Lady Stephenson Library, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.



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