Phylogeography and conservation genetics

Softmouth trout

Belvica and letnica

Dentex trout

Marble trout

Brown Trout in Serbia

Trouts in the River Neretva

Trouts in Montenegro

Genomic research

Marble pigment pattern

Vernacular names

A decade and a half has passed since the publication of our first paper Rapid communication: The first microsatellite DNA marker for marble trout, BFRO 001 by Snoj et al., Journal of Animal Science, 1997, 75, 1983.

Given the technological developments that have taken place in the last 16 years, our landmark (to us) publication might seem unimpressive. But for those of us working in the area at that time, the isolation of microsatellites using manual sequencing and allele typing with PAGE gels and digoxigenin visualization was not a trivial matter. The proof of the pudding was ultimately in the acceptance of our manuscript.

Shortly thereafter, we found ourselves on an increasingly steep curve, and passing through the mania of QTL and microarrays we were faced with the challenges of next-generation sequencing, NGS.

Our group works mostly, but not exclusively, with salmonids. We have contributed successfully to the protection of marble trout, Adriatic grayling and brown trout in Slovenia and beyond. We have successfully popularized the softmouth trout and strengthened public awareness of the need for and importance of Balkan trout and Balkan grayling conservation. Along the way we have solved some taxonomic uncertainities—e.g. Salmothymus obtusirostris, Salmo dentex—and with our study of trout from Morocco contributed to a better understanding of the evolution of European trout.

The Balkan trout group has continuously upgraded its library of molecular markers in order to achieve more accurate phylogenetic resolution and precise distinction between multiple trout lineages. In doing so, we have recently developed a new SNP-based marker system.

Our group enjoys the challenges, and there certainly have been some, of studying the genetic mechanisms that lie behind the formation of specific pigment patterns in trout.

In addition to our recent adventures with gaovica (Delminichtys adspersus), minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus), bulhead (Cottus sp.) and European mud-minnow (Umbra krameri)—the last three of which are on-going—trout still tops our list. But along the way, Danube salmon, taimen and rainbow trout have also joined our club.