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My Life With The Red Queen In Fishery Genetics

W Stewart Grant

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Abstract I had the privilege of being a part of fishery genetics from its start in the 1970s,  when protein electrophoresis was first used to identify stocks of commercially important fishes and shellfishes. Research questions in fishery genetics have evolved tremendously over the past few decades, as new molecular techniques changed the nature of the questions that could be posed. The development of new DNA methods spurred the development of new theoretical models, new statistical methods and an unending stream of computer programs. These developments have led to conceptual shifts in the understanding of natural populations and how to manage them. Twists and turns in the history of fishery genetics parallel the story of the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. I have had to “run in place” during my career to learn new techniques and ideas that, in turn, have been replaced with yet newer ones. However, my personal challenge throughout my career has been to develop “scientific intuition” to find underlying causes in datasets. Even though we now have the ability to sequence entire genomes, it is premature to announce the “end of history” for technical and conceptual advances in fishery genetics.