On Friday 21st April, 2023, Kristina Severine Rudsjær Stenløkk successfully defended her PhD, entitled “Genomic structural variations as drivers of adaptation in salmonid fishes”.
Kristina has explored the largely overlooked landscape of Structural Variations (SVs) in Atlantic salmon and lake whitefish. SVs are a broad category of variants including larger insertions, deletions, rearrangements etc. which can have profound effects on gene architecture and expression, as well as recombination, genome evolution and species diversification. Thanks to new sequencing technologies, we are now able to efficiently detect SVs on a genome-wide scale. In her work Kristina has generated the first pan-genome for Atlantic salmon composed from individuals representing a broad phylogenetic range, >1M SVs affecting more than 10% of the genome are reported, explored the role of inversions in adaptation to different environments, in the creation of supergenes, and detected SVs associated with the formation of sympatric species pairs of lake whitefish.