Genetic Markers for Detecting Population Structure of West Coast Chinook Salmon
Scientists have identified 117 new single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for detecting the genetic relatedness of Chinook salmon.
The most basic genetic variation possible, a SNP (pronounced “snip”) refers to a single difference in one base pair of a nucleotide. The major outcome of this project is the identification of an optimal panel of 96 SNPs that is capable of detecting both the parentage of hatchery-born Chinook and the origin (i.e., stock) of Chinook caught off California and Oregon.
SNPs are fast becoming the tool of choice for population genetics studies of nonmodel organisms such as Pacific salmon, because of their low rates of error (mutation) and high resolving power. The detailed resolution of SNPs is particularly well suited for studies of anadromous fishes such as Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), as their fidelity to their natal rivers leads to a hierarchical population structure. This project demonstrates applications and advantages of SNP markers for California’s most commercially important salmon species.