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René Malenfant

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The aim of my project is to develop genomics tools to assess the genetic status of polar bear populations. The specific objectives are: 1) to identify new genetic markers by re-sequencing the polar bear genome and to develop a high-throughput array for genotyping these markers, 2) to use this array to reassess global polar bear population structure and key parameters such as effective population size, and 3) to identify genes associated with fitness and test for adverse anthropogenic impacts (e.g., due to climate change or harvesting) on polar bear population genomics. To this end, we have used RAD and transcriptome sequencing to develop a 9,000-SNP chip for polar bears, comprising markers in non-coding regions and markers in fitness-related genes (e.g., for growth, lipid metabolism, etc.). We will use this new genomics tool together with globally collected tissue samples and long-term data from the Western Hudson Bay subpopulation in order to address these questions. Outcomes will contribute to our understanding of the genetic health of polar bears and their capacity to adapt to a rapidly changing Arctic, and they will have direct implications for management decisions.

René Malenfant

Biological Sciences

Office: CCIS 5-010
Phone: 1 (780) 492-8368
Fax: 1 (780) 492-9234

  • Ph.D. Candidate

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