Molecular ecology and conservation biology

The ”Inland region” of Norway has got much nature that is close to its original natural state. It is both the public and private administrations' responsibility to take care of this, both for nature's intrinsic value and in terms of human use and exploitation of natural resources, such as the tourism industry.

Molecular genetic analysis is a useful tool in monitoring of wildlife populations, and new methods have been developed. Especially the analysis of microsatellites have been useful to describe the genetic structure of populations. This is presently being done by Hedmark University College, LUNA, while the more recent method of SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism - SNPs) is about to be adopted.

The method needs to be adapted to the individual species and local populations, in order to identify areas of chromosomes showing sufficient variation in the populations to be analysed. It is intended that this will involve students and administrators in the region. The institute is collaborating with researchers from other institutions to test the SNP method to describe genetic variation in groups of wild and domesticated populations. A major aim is to find markers that are linked to important traits like growth and immunity to pathogens.