From the site www.ansa.it (photo: Andrea Splendiani) - January 14, 2017
The fossil remains of fishes dating back 14 thousand years ago were found in a cave in Calabria and the DNA of the "Flintstones" Trout was sequenced thanks to a study coordinated by Professor Vincenzo Caputo Barucchi, University of Marche and partner of the Life+ Trout project.
The study helped to reconstruct the genetic changes of these fishes that once lived in the Mediterranean Sea.
"We have analyzed the DNA of trout samples from the late Pleistocene - said prof. Barucchi to ANSA agency - in a time of climate change due to the last great ice age." The remains come from the cave of the Madonna Sanctuary, in Praia a Mare, inhabited by men for thousands of years until the Roman period.
From bone fragments the researchers were able to extract small portions of ancient DNA and collected several data of this species will swimming in the Italian rivers. "At that time the sea was colder and less salty - prof. Barucchi explained - and there were the conditions for the trout to live in the salty waters, becoming even bigger, as happens to salmon”.
By comparing the old DNA with the one from current populations, it has emerged genetic characteristics identical to those of the trout of Morocco, proving the existence of ancient migration flows into the sea, and very different behaviors from the freshwater fishes currently living in the Mediterranean basin.
"The same data - concluded prof. Barucchi - are allowing us to reconstruct the original DNA of our trout, today heavily polluted from farmed non native trout released into rivers for restocking purpose of sport fishing." One of the next steps of the study will be to extend the work to other fossil samples and groped to reconstruct the entire genome of the trout, in collaboration with the National Museum of history “Luigi Pigorini” and the Italian Institute of Human Paleontology.