New genome sequencing method reveals a species evolutionary history
Organelle genomes from plants, animals, and fungi are used as genetic markers to track maternal diversity, historical migration, and maternally inherited fitness traits in wild populations. These genomes, which range in size from 15,000 to 1,000,000 base pairs, can now be efficiently sequenced in large numbers using 'multiplexed massively parallel sequencing' (MMPS), a technique developed at the PNW Research Station. Analyses of complete organelle genomes from conifers (pine chloroplast genomes) and carnivores (fisher mitochondrial genomes) obtained using MMPS show that genetic parameters estimated from complete genomes are not accurately predicted by single organelle genes (a common sampling unit in conservation genetics). This finding highlights the importance of using whole organelle genome sequences when conservation decisions are based on molecular information.
The new method for genome sequencing is being used by geneticists at the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain Research Stations to re-address estimates of population distinctiveness for fisher and wolverine in the Pacific Northwest. Results will help guide proposed reintroduction efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Forest Service Partners