Discovery and characterization of novel genetic markers for use in the management of Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi)


Correspondence: John C. Garza, Fax: 1-831-420-3977; E-mail:


The Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi) is threatened by habitat destruction, over-harvest and hybridization with nonnative trout. Currently, three Geographic Management Units (GMUs) are recognized within the taxon. Here, we describe a suite of 68 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genetic markers for use in the study and management of Lahontan cutthroat trout and a closely related subspecies, the Paiute cutthroat trout (O. c. seleneris). These include markers variable within the two subspecies (n = 35), diagnostic for the two subspecies (n = 23) and diagnostic for Yellowstone cutthroat trout (O. c. bouvieri) and other closely related subspecies (n = 10). Sixty-three markers were discovered by Sanger sequencing of 171 EST loci in an ascertainment panel including Lahontan cutthroat trout from four populations representing all GMUs. Five markers were identified in a secondary sequencing effort with a single population of Lahontan cutthroat trout. TaqMan assays were validated on six Lahontan cutthroat trout populations and a diverse panel of other trout. Over 90% of the markers variable in Lahontan cutthroat trout were polymorphic in at least two populations, and 66% were variable within all three GMUs. All Lahontan diagnostic markers were also fixed for the Lahontan allele in Paiute cutthroat trout. Most of the Yellowstone diagnostic markers can also be used for this purpose in other cutthroat trout subspecies. This is the first set of SNP markers to be developed for Lahontan cutthroat trout, and will be an important tool for conservation and management.