Area of Expertise:
Ruth has conducted research on the genetic structure of Pacific salmon and marine fish species since 1981 using the techniques of protein electrophoresis, analysis of mitochondrial DNA, and analysis of nuclear DNA markers. The results have been applied in the identification of confiscated tissue samples and analysis of stock composition in mixed-stock fishery samples. Research on quantitative genetic variation in salmon has identified stocks with traits of interest (disease resistance, fast growth, etc.) for use in aquaculture. Of particular interest is the study of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) in fish. The MHC contains the genes that control the acquired immune response. Genetic variation in MHC genes can be used to identify disease resistant genotypes, to define population structure, and to identify important units for conservation within species.
Select Presentation(s) / Publication(s):
Beacham, Terry & Wallace, Colin & Jonsen, Kim & McIntosh, Brenda & Candy, John & Willis, David & Lynch, Cheryl & Moore, Jean-Sébastien & Bernatchez, Louis & E. Withler, Ruth. (2018). Comparison of coded-wire tagging with parentage-based tagging and genetic stock identification in a large-scale coho salmon fisheries application in British Columbia, Canada. Evolutionary Applications. 10.1111/eva.12711.
Christensen, Kris & Leong, Jong & Sakhrani, Dionne & Biagi, Carlo & Minkley, David & E. Withler, Ruth & Rondeau, Eric & Koop, Ben & H. Devlin, Robert. (2018). Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) genome and transcriptome. PLOS ONE. 13. e0195461. 10.1371/journal.pone.0195461.
Beacham, Terry & E. Withler, Ruth. (2017). Population structure of sea-type and lake-type sockeye salmon and kokanee in the Fraser River and Columbia River drainages. PLOS ONE. 12. e0183713. 10.1371/journal.pone.0183713.
le luyer, Jeremy & Laporte, Martin & Beacham, Terry & Kaukinen, Karia & E Withler, Ruth & Leong, Jong & Rondeau, Eric & Koop, Ben & Bernatchez, Louis. (2017). Parallel epigenetic modifications induced by hatchery rearing in a Pacific salmon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 114. 10.1073/pnas.1711229114.
Folkes, Michael; Withler, Ruth;”The long road to recovery of an endangered salmon stock that is facing a multiple, unconnected but compounding threats.” (2016). Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. 74. https://cedar.wwu.edu/ssec/2016ssec/species_food_webs/74/
Withler, Ruth & S. O’Brien, David & M. Watson, Nicolette & Supernault, Janine. (2014). Maintenance of Genetic Diversity in Natural Spawning of Captively-Reared Endangered Sockeye Salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka. Diversity. 6. 354-379. 10.3390/d6020354.