NWIFC geneticists assist member tribes in generating and evaluating data relating to the genetic structure of the fish populations they manage. Examples of the services genetics staff provide includes:

  • Finding out what populations are present in mixed stocked fisheries, and tracing the interactions of independent populations.
  • Evaluating gene flow among populations, inbreeding within populations, and the relative strength of random and deterministic factors contributing to the fitness of future generations of salmon.
  • Using a population’s genetic structure to helping guide hatchery broodstock management.

Monitoring genetic variation in natural populations that don’t have hatchery programs associated with them is important in establishing a baseline of genetic information.

Genetic data can come from analysis of DNA obtained directly from biological material such as scales and fin tissue. Data can also come indirectly from measures of population changes over time. Demographic data, such as age structure and variation in abundance from year-to-year can contribute to an estimate of a population’s genetic makeup.

NWIFC assists member tribes across a spectrum of genetic analysis, ranging from digging out archival data on population abundance to helping to generate new molecular data.