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This scientific discovery can have great relevance to breed disease-resistant salmon. (Photo: Frank Gregerse, Nofima)

Pancreas disease genetic marker identified in salmon

Click on the flag for more information about Norway NORWAY
Monday, June 06, 2011, 22:30 (GMT + 9)

The Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima) has via a project for SalmoBreed contributed to identifying a genetic marker (QTL) that has a significant effect on the salmon’s resistance against pancreas disease.

In recent years pancreas disease (PD) has inflicted losses of hundreds of millions of kroner on the Norwegian aquaculture industry, and until now no good tools have existed to deal with the disease situation.

The project was carried out by the Centre for Integrative Genetics (CIGENE) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) under the direction of Dr. Sigbjørn Lien, in collaboration with Nofima and the Akvaforsk Genetics Center (AFGC).

Nofima’s role in the project has been to prepare samples for genotyping and to carry out data analysis in collaboration with CIGENE. These samples are part of a biobank which Nofima holds for SalmoBreed.

The term QTL is an abbreviation for quantitative trait locus, a gene or chromosome region that affects a trait.

“In a comprehensive material from controlled challenge tests with PD carried out on the SalmoBreed strain, we have analysed DNA samples and have identified a marker on the genome that is strongly associated with the salmon’s ability to resist the disease,” says Sigbjørn Lien. “Preliminary figures show that this marker can account for around 20 per cent of the variation in the resistance. This represents a strong QTL, which can be of major significance in the work to breed salmon that are stronger against PD.”

“For several years SalmoBreed has implemented regular challenge tests with PD in order to select broodstock from the strongest families,” says Dr. Håvard Bakke from SalmoBreed.

“Using the marker which has now been found, we will be able to ensure we select the best breeding candidates within the relevant families, both during the reproduction of SalmoBreed’s breeding nucleus and during the production of commercial roe. This is important in order to further increase the efficiency of breeding programmes, and not least for the fish farmers in Western Norway.”

“As early as this year we will study a selection of our broodstock to select fish with favourable QTL variants,” says Bakke. “In practice this means that as early as this autumn we can produce roe that is expected to have significantly increased resistance against PD.”

Source: Nofima/Reidun Lilleholt and Håvard Bakke, SalmoBreed


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