We focus on the genomics of seals. The Saimaa ringed seal (Pusa hispida saimensis) is the world’s most endangered seal, with around 300 individuals left, thus offering an excellent opportunity to study an extreme genetic bottleneck in great detail. Our focus is to sequence and assemble a reference genome of one Saimaa ringed seal individual, and resequencing additional individuals from diverse seal populations and species. Dental variation in seals is especially suitable for understanding genetic basis of morphology because seals have relatively simple teeth but with high degree of (genetic) variation in shape among individuals. Additional methods include comparative analyses of enhancer landscapes among mammalian species.

Above: A special sequencing project: A captive hybrid between a Ringed seal female and a Grey seal male born in Stockholm, 1929.
Savriama et al. (2018) R Soc Open Sci