Imagine Idaho's waters in pristine condition, with all the fish species in the waters which they belong and in proportionate populations. Advanced Biology's group, Fish Genetics, is helping to make this dream a reality. The group was started in early 2010 when the project was brought to the attention of Clint Kennedy's Advanced Biology class.


Bull trout are an endangered, native Idahoan fish. The introduction of brook trout, a very similar but invasive, non-native fish, to the same waters the bull trout inhabit has threatened the future of bull trout. The genetic similarities between bull and brook trout are allowing them to breed with one another and produce hybrids. Fish Genetics is seeking to understand and identify the genetics of the hybrids, as well as purebreds of both trout. Easy identification and genetic understanding of the fish will help to fix the environmental problem caused by the introduction of brook trout.


Tabitha Holden was student who took the initiative to start the Fish Genetics group. For now, it is convenient to keep the group small, as we are still learning. There are two full-time members: 11th graders Shiloh Ryker and Tabitha Holden. There is also one part-time member, 10th grader Kurt Charlton. The group is learning to work together and hoping to achieve its goals in a timely manner. There are many directions in which the project can go, all of which will help both its group members and the environment further themselves.


Fish Genetics' DNA samples are currently provided by the Fish and Game. Matt Campbell of the Fish and Game has provided us with DNA samples and mentorship. Having his knowledge, as well as the supplies he has so graciously given us, is definitely an asset to the project. However, we are hoping to eventually have some independence by the means of collecting our own DNA samples.


The method of testing for our samples is through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and agarose gel electrophoresis. For further information on our DNA testing process, see our DNA Testing page.


Shiloh, Kurt, and Tabitha