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In this study we examine genetic variation within and among self-sustaining lake trout populations from the Great Lakes basin, the Rainy Lake basin, and Yellowstone Lake. We used RFLP analysis and direct sequencing to examine DNA sequence variation among several mitochondrial and nuclear genes, including highly conserved loci (e.g. cytochrome b, nuclear exon regions) and highly variable loci (e.g. mitochondrial d-loop and nuclear intron regions). Native Lake Superior lake trout populations show high levels of genetic diversity, while populations from the Rainy Lake basin show little or none. The lake trout population sampled from Yellowstone Lake shows moderate genetic diversity, possibly representative of a relatively large source population closely related to lake trout from Lewis Lake, Wyoming. There has been significant social and management controversy involving these lake trout populations, particularly those that are located in National Parks. In the Great Lakes and Rainy Lake basins, the controversy involves the degree to which hatchery supplementation can contribute to or negatively impact self-sustaining populations which are highly desired by recreational and commercial fisheries. In Yellowstone Lake, the lake trout are viewed as an undesirable intruder that may interfere with resident populations of highly prized native cutthroat trout.
Additional Publication Details
Genetic variation among wild lake trout populations: the 'wanted' and the 'unwanted'