As part of the research program of the Ecogenomics team, we are sequencing and analyzing whole genome sequences of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) to answer questions pertinent to the conservation of the species. So far, we have generated a chromosome scale reference genome and high-quality annotation with Dovetail Genomics, as well as both high coverage (~100) and low coverage (~350) re-sequenced genomes.
We use population and phylogenomic methods to reconstruct evolutionary history and genetic structuring, important for Designatable Unit (DU) decisions as well as understanding caribou intra specific diversity.
We measure what proportion in the genome is in a Run of Homozygosity (ROH) which tells us how much of the genome is showing a signature of inbreeding, and whether there is any recent inbreeding occurring.
We measure individual heterozygosity as a measure of how genetically diverse the caribou are, important for adaptive potential and resilience under environmental changes.
We measure genetic load, for example measuring how many variant sites each caribou has which are putatively bad for fitness, to inform about the susceptibility to inbreeding depression upon population declines.
Introgression is a measure of how much variation is retained in a genome over generations after gene flow has occurred from a different population and can inform about historical connectivity.
We measure adaptive variation, including finding molecular pathways with signatures of selection unique to each caribou lineage, to inform about differential adaptive variation.