Innovative, apparently with a high probability of success. If successful, the technique may offer widespread applicability. This is a technically robust proposal with very competent personnel. The study proposes to bring an innovative new genetic assay technique into Columbia River salmon management and provide "real - time" analysis. Most genetic analyses require weeks or months for turn around time, rather than hours or a few days as this technique promises. The technique also provides high genetic resolution, down to the family line or pedigree level usually associated with DNA fingerprinting.
While technically, the proposal was one of the two or three best proposals in the review, it suffered from weak ties to the Fish and Wildlife Program and little discussion of specific management applications. The PI's overstate both the level of inference that will be provided by the genetic results (i.e., fitness, stock ID, etc.) and the way the technique will be used by managers to inform and guide fisheries decisions. One would hope that this will be the case someday, but presently it is not the case. Despite the proposal's claim, most fisheries managers we know will not "make near-real time decisions on hydropower operations based on genetic (chip-based) stock identification data."
The proposal would probably have fared better in the review process had it proposed to develop the DNA microarray for specific populations or taxa, such as chinook and steelhead, and to have tested its efficacy on specific steelhead stocks associated with hatchery broodstock development or with an ongoing supplementation program. The assay probably has great potential in supplementation studies to track hatchery and wild stocks and to assay genetic interactions between them.