Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UW launches cutting-edge DNA 'fin-printing' project for salmon

20.11.2007
Some salmon make one heck of a commute.

The record holder in the Pacific Northwest, for example, is a steelhead that was tagged in the Clearwater River, Idaho, in April 2003. A year and a half later, it was caught off the southern Kuril Islands near Japan. The most direct route between those two points – as the crow flies, as they say – is 4,200 miles. Imagine fish that make it that far then turn around and travel back to their home streams in order to spawn.

The ability of salmon to migrate such extraordinary distances makes it hard at a management level to know whose fish are whose and at a biological level to unravel the mystery of their ocean migration.

A $4.1 million effort just launched by the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences aims to help by gathering genetic information for thousands upon thousands of Pacific Rim salmon populations and creating open-access databases for managers, treaty-makers and scientists.

... more about:
»DNA »Genetic »Pacific »SNP »Seeb »scientists

Jim and Lisa Seeb, known for their groundbreaking work identifying salmon populations using genetic markers, joined the UW this fall as research professors. Genetic markers are key bits of a fish's DNA that, when compared to the same spots on the DNA of other fish, can reveal if they are from the same population or not.

Genetic markers are being employed to study the human genome. The process, sometimes referred to as DNA fingerprinting in humans, could be called DNA "fin-printing" for fish when a bit of tissue from a fin is used for the analysis.

Prior to genetic markers, fisheries scientists primarily relied on capturing young fish, putting metal or plastic tags on them and then releasing them in hopes they would be caught by a fisherman willing to return the tags to scientists.

Discerning which rivers and lakes salmon came from can be crucial when, for instance, countries negotiate fishing agreements or local managers decide if they should curtail fishing because high numbers of a vulnerable population are found to be part of a run.

Using genetic markers is one of the most rapidly growing fields in fisheries today, Jim Seeb says. Current UW faculty are already leaders in using genetic markers to understand where marine fish and shellfish – such as cod, abalone and salmon – spend their lives, how they adapt to their environments and handle effects of human activities and environmental change.

Groups including state and federal agencies in the United States as well as agencies in Russia, Canada and Japan have been developing baseline genetic information for more than 20 years, but coordinating and merging data has been an ongoing challenge.

"The $4.1 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to the UW will help promote development of new genetic markers and provide a pathway for these markers to be shared by interested labs in Asia and North America," Lisa Seeb says. One of the project goals is to cement international relationships with the common databases that can be used to track the migration of Pacific salmon in the Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea.

The Seebs, who've been working for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, are considered leaders in using single nucleotide polymorphism markers, referred to as SNPs and pronounced "snips." Identified by chemically treating a small bit of tissue, SNPs are differences along strands of DNA that roughly match among members of a single population but differ between populations. Salmon hatched in a certain drainage, for example, will share a SNP profile different from that of salmon hatched in other drainages.

A big key to successful databases, the Seebs say, is using a genetic marker that will ensure that instruments in North America and Asia can tell scientists in each place that they are looking at fish from the same population. Each SNP involves just a duo of the chemicals that make up the chains of DNA in animals. This makes using SNPS simpler and easier to standardize than other genetic markers such as microsatellite markers that involve longer portions of DNA.

The UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences already has created a large database on the ranges of high-seas salmon from physical tagging efforts and the new program will work closely with the school’s existing High Seas Salmon Project. The school also has a wealth of salmon and environmental data collected as part of its Alaskan Salmon Program, established 60 years ago before Alaska was even a state.

"We feel extremely fortunate to have a chance to build this new program at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences where there are already hugely successful programs in fisheries migration, ecology and genetics," Jim Seeb says.

Sandra Hines | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.washington.edu
http://www.moore.org

Further reports about: DNA Genetic Pacific SNP Seeb scientists

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>