Tuesday February 21, 2023

India Education Diary

California’s dwindling water resources and urban sprawl are leaving a group of residents you’ve probably never heard of on the verge of homelessness. The unarmored threespine stickleback fish, highly adapted to thrive in California’s often short-lived, unpredictable waterways, has been long considered by scientists a model species for studying evolution and a top concern for conservationists.

It has been on the endangered species list since 1970 and is still in peril.

Now, a UCLA-led effort to sequence the fish’s genome has identified genetically distinct populations in Southern California that could guide measures to save the subspecies, such as using fish chosen for their genetic background to repopulate waterways in the Los Angeles Basin, where they once lived.

The study determined that coastal and upstream populations are different enough — with the upstream group being much smaller and in greater danger of disappearing — to merit interventions that protect their genetic uniqueness. The research, which was published in the journal Molecular Ecology, was conducted in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.

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