Population Genomics of New Zealand Pouched Lamprey (kanakana; piharau; Geotria australis)

Allison K. Miller, Nataliya Timoshevskaya, Jeramiah J. Smith, Joanne Gillum, Saeed Sharif, Shannon Clarke, Cindy Baker, Jane Kitson, Neil J. Gemmell, Alana Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Pouched lamprey (Geotria australis) or kanakana/piharau is a culturally and ecologically significant jawless fish that is distributed throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. Despite its importance, much remains unknown about historical relationships and gene flow between populations of this enigmatic species within New Zealand. To help inform management, we assembled a draft G. australis genome and completed the first comprehensive population genomics analysis of pouched lamprey within New Zealand using targeted gene sequencing (Cyt-b and COI) and restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RADSeq) methods. Employing 16 000 genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) derived from RADSeq (n = 186) and sequence data from Cyt-b (766 bp, n = 94) and COI (589 bp, n = 20), we reveal low levels of structure across 10 sampling locations spanning the species range within New Zealand. F-statistics, outlier analyses, and STRUCTURE suggest a single panmictic population, and Mantel and EEMS tests reveal no significant isolation by distance. This implies either ongoing gene flow among populations or recent shared ancestry among New Zealand pouched lamprey. We can now use the information gained from these genetic tools to assist managers with monitoring effective population size, managing potential diseases, and conservation measures such as artificial propagation programs. We further demonstrate the general utility of these genetic tools for acquiring information about elusive species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-397
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The American Genetic Association.


  • Southern Hemisphere lamprey
  • conservation genetics
  • effective population size
  • gene flow
  • genome
  • historical demography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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