Gene Conservation Laboratory
Cook Inlet Sockeye Projects

In the 1990's we developed an extensive database of genetic information from Cook Inlet sockeye salmon populations and used it to monitor marine harvest. This baseline examined protein variation to infer genetic information, and provided some ability to distinguish among regional groups of populations. Due to the nature of this method the resolution could not be improved. Since 2005, we have been developing a new baseline using genetic techniques that have proven more powerful at identifying stock components in mixed fishery samples in other geographic areas. This new genetic technique investigates genetic variation at the finest level — the nucleotide. Nucleotides are the bases that make up the DNA molecule. We screen for changes at specific locations along the DNA molecule where a single nucleotide may differ between chromosomes. These locations are known as single nucleotide polymorphisms or "SNPs". We currently have genetic information for 45 SNPs from approximately 9,712 fish from 59 major spawning populations in Cook Inlet. This baseline was tested to determine how well it represents all populations and how well it can identify stock components in mixed fishery samples. After completion of the baseline testing, genetic information from fish sampled in the harvest were used to monitor marine harvests in 2005 – 2007.

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