By Josh Rhoten

Principal investigator
Ryan Layer

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; National Institutes of Health (NIH); National Human Genome Research Institute; Research Council of Norway

Collaboration + support
Department of Computer Science; BioFrontiers Institute; Norwegian University of Life Sciences; University of Aberdeen; University of Edinburgh

Assistant Professor Ryan Layer is working to discover structural variants in salmon’s genetic code. Structural variants are a major source of genetic and phenotypic variation, but they remain challenging to accurately type and are poorly characterized in salmon.

Layer’s lab in the Department of Computer Science and the BioFrontiers Institute is trying to address that problem through the creation of open-source tools and strategies that can be used by anyone—from computer scientist to field biologist. That includes creating and working with algorithms to decipher important information from within large genomic datasets.

For example, his lab is working to understand how changes in structural variants between wild and farmed salmon relate to behavioral traits needed for domestication of the species. Determining that could have implications for conservation and sustainable harvesting of the fish in the future. And any lessons learned with the newly developed tools could be applied to other species to the same end.

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