Genomic Tools for Fisheries Management and Conservation: Promises and Challenges, Part 1
Tremendous advances in sequencing technology (i.e., next-generation sequencing; NGS) over the last five years have led to new genomic tools that are available for fisheries applications. This includes generating full genome sequences, scanning marker variation (e.g. Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, SNPs) frequencies across the genome, and testing for genomewide differences in gene expression of any fish species at an increasingly diminishing cost. These genomic tools offer great promise for revolutionizing fisheries management and conservation by : (i) Scaling up genome coverage for any non-model species, leading to improved estimates of population genetic and evolutionary parameters; (ii) Identifying markers “ that count ” (e.g. functional SNP) and moving towards more integrative approaches to elucidate the functional significance of molecular variation and for (iii) Finding causal relationships between genetic variation, gene expression, phenotypes and the environment to predict future dynamics of selectively important variation and potential for adaptation to new conditions. Additional applications of these new methods range from genetic tagging in order to identify fish of unknown origin, refine estimates of “real time” migration rate and dispersal, identify the physiological reason for declining or unhealthy population via gene expression, or estimate numbers of effective spawners in a given population. Despite exciting opportunities to implement these genomic tools in the field of fisheries, there remain challenges including the need for training in bioinformatics skills as well as acquiring access to powerful computers to launch analyses and integrating new concepts into fisheries management. This symposium will focus on both the promises and challenges of applying genomic tools for fisheries management and conservation by bringing together the most important contributors to this field.