Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Special Chip Provides Better Picture Of Salmon Health

Date:
October 19, 2006
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
How do you tell if a fish is fit and well? This is a question which has troubled farmers and biologists for years, but now scientists may have come up with the answer -- using DNA chips. By studying the genes of Atlantic salmon scientists from three UK universities are developing a DNA chip to monitor the health and performance of salmon, a tool which could both save the salmon industry thousands and also help conserve dwindling wild salmon populations.

By studying the genes of Atlantic salmon scientists from three UK universities are developing a DNA chip to monitor the health and performance of salmon, a tool which could both save the salmon industry thousands and also help conserve dwindling wild salmon populations.
Credit: Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

How do you tell if a fish is fit and well? This is a question which has troubled farmers and biologists for years, but now scientists may have come up with the answer - using DNA chips. By studying the genes of Atlantic salmon scientists from three UK universities are developing a DNA chip to monitor the health and performance of salmon, a tool which could both save the salmon industry thousands and also help conserve dwindling wild salmon populations.

Related Articles


Atlantic salmon are the most important farmed fish in the UK and a disappearing species in the wild. They are particularly vulnerable to infection because of the dramatic physical and chemical changes they go through, known as smoltification, which enable them to live in both fresh and salt water. Assessing their health and performance is very difficult as conventional measures used in other animals, such as temperature, blood protein levels and general demeanour, are not relevant or are difficult to assess in fish.

Farmers and conservationists currently have to rely on the general appearance of salmon as an indicator of their health, which is far from ideal. The new DNA chip will help farmers assess the state of their stock more accurately and also enable conservationists to sample wild populations to ascertain their health and wellbeing.

The development of the chip is the culmination of a four-year study known as Salmon TRAITS (Transcription Analysis of Important Traits in Salmon) being carried out by scientists at the Universities of Stirling, Aberdeen and Cardiff, together with ARK Genomics at the Roslin Institute and researchers at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science. Funding for the project is from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council's (BBSRC) Exploiting Genomics initiative.

To develop a more effective method of monitoring salmon health and performance the scientists have been studying salmon gene expression. By doing this, they have identified genes which play different roles in the lifecycle of salmon, for example immune response.

Professor Chris Secombes lead researcher from the University of Aberdeen explained: "We have identified hundreds of genes which are increased or decreased following infection, many of which may be indicators of disease. We have also looked at what other factors impact on these genes, such as nutrition. We are now working to encode this information onto a chip which could help farmers monitor the health and performance of their stocks through methods such as changing their nutritional intake."

So far the scientists have identified the genes and metabolic pathways which influence the most commercially important traits for the production of salmon. These are; the supply of contaminant-free highly unsaturated oils, including omega-3s, for the salmon diet, their long and complex lifecycle, infectious disease, and protein growth efficiency.

Professor Alan Teale, lead researcher at the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling and Co-ordinator of TRAITS explained: "What we are working on is precision aquaculture, where we use very sensitive measures -- gene expression -- to pre-empt any adverse production changes in farmed fish populations as well as to maximise their health and wellbeing. This in turn will increase competitiveness and profitability for the salmon farmer.

"We have identified genes involved in polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism, protein metabolism, bacterial and viral infection, and freshwater to seawater adaptation. The DNA chip will be able to identify changes in the activity of these genes and so alert us to any potential problems. It is too early to tell whether this chip will be a commercial success, but it certainly has the potential to be extremely useful to industry," Professor Teale said.

Professor Julia Goodfellow, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "This is another important step forward in genomics research, not only does it further our knowledge base, it also offers tangible benefits for the aquaculture industry and for the conservation of wild salmon, offering the chance to reverse the decline in Britain's salmon population."

This research appears in the October 2006 edition of Business, the quarterly research highlights magazine of BBSRC.

The Salmon TRAITS project involves a number of industrial partners: Operon Biotechnologies Gmbh, Marine Harvest and Scottish Quality Salmon, an organisation that represents the producers of 65 per cent of Scottish farmed salmon.

Salmon are anadromous fish -- they live in the sea but reproduce in fresh water. They live in freshwater during their early life, mature in salt water and then return to fresh water to reproduce.

BBSRC's Exploiting Genomics initiative was initially established in 2001 as part of the Government's investment in post-genomic research announced in the Spending Review in 2000.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Special Chip Provides Better Picture Of Salmon Health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061017085114.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2006, October 19). Special Chip Provides Better Picture Of Salmon Health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061017085114.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Special Chip Provides Better Picture Of Salmon Health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061017085114.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins