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Salmon Pancreas Disease Gene Marker Identified

NORWAY - A recent research project conducted and funded by SalmoBreed has newly identified a gene marker named Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) which has a significant effect on salmon's resistance to Pancreas Disease (PD).

The disease has recently caused huge losses of fish which has cost the Norwegian aquaculture industry hundreds of millions of NOK. The disease also affects farmed salmon in Scotland and Ireland. Until now, the industry has not had the instruments or tools to tackle it.

The project was conducted by CIGENE (Centre for Integrative Genetics), UMB (Norwegian School of Life Sciences) under the leadership of Dr Sigbjørn Lien, in cooperation with Nofima Marine and the Institute of Aquaculture Research Genetics Center (AFGC).

Using the extensive bank of material from controlled PD challenge tests performed on SalmoBreed family lines, the team analysed DNA samples and identified a marker on the genome that is strongly associated with the salmon's ability to resist disease.

“Our preliminary results show that the marker can explain about 20 per cent of the variation in resistance to PD. This represents a significant QTL, which can have a considerable impact on the efforts to breed a salmon with greater resistance to the disease,” commented Dr Lien.

“SalmoBreed (SB) has been conducting routine challenge tests with PD for several years in order to select brood fish from the strongest families.”

“Using the newly-discovered marker, we can now ensure that we select the best breeding candidates in particular families, both at the reproduction stage for SB's main broodstock and the commercial production of eggs. This is important for further improving the efficiency of selective breeding, and it will be especially significant for farmers in western Norway,” added Dr Håvard Bakke of SalmoBreed.

“This year, we will examine a selection of our broodstock to select fish with beneficial QTL variants. This means that by the coming autumn we can produce eggs that are expected to have a significantly increased resistance to PD,“ Dr Bakke concluded.

the Fish Site Editor

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