CSI: Greenback Cutthroat Trout

Forensic Science Unearths Three New Subspecies of Cutthroat Trout and Identifies Colorado’s True State Fish.

Colorado University of Boulder researcher Jessica Metcalf used trout DNA samples from the 1850s to identify Colorado's true "purebred" state fish. Here she releases trout spawned from eggs taken from a population of only 800 remaining trout.

Colorado University of Boulder researcher Jessica Metcalf used trout DNA samples from the 1850s to identify Colorado’s true “purebred” state fish. Here she releases trout spawned from eggs taken from a population of only 800 remaining trout.

If they made “CSI Trout”, then the story of Colorado’s official state fish, the Greenback Cutthroat Trout, would make one hell of an episode.  As it turns out about half of the fish that scientists had originally been calling Greenback Cutthroat Trout actually have genes more similar to Colorado Cutthroat Trout.

The discovery was the work of Jessica Metcalf, a young researcher from CU that used DNA testing and tissue samples from the 1850s to identify the genetic fingerprint of “purebred” greenbacks.  Metcalf’s findings ignited an internationalBear Creek Cutthroat Trout “Trout-Gate” within the scientific community. How could biologists have confused these two species?

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Originally published on Drake.com