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Reference to Boost Trout Numbers

Researchers from the US and Canada have developed a reference genome for lake trout to help boost their dwindling numbers, the Associated Press reports.

The cross-border team combined Pacific Biosciences long-read sequencing, paired-end Illumina sequencing, Hi-C sequencing, and a previously published linkage map to piece together a Salvelinus namaycush genome assembly. As they report in Molecular Ecology Resources, the researchers additionally developed annotations for 49,668 genes and pseudogenes.

Such a reference genome will enable researchers to determine which strains of lake trout might best survive in the Great Lakes, a press release from Michigan State University where some of the researchers work, says. The AP notes that sea lampreys and other invasive species as well as overfishing, habitat loss, and pollution have contributed to the decline of trout in the Great Lakes.

"Lake trout are central to the culture of the Great Lakes region and have faced so many conservation challenges over the last decades," first author Seth Smith from Michigan State says in a statement. "Having a publicly available map of the lake trout genome removes most of the initial hurdles associated with doing conservation-oriented genomic research."