The discovery of the gene that controls sexual maturation in female and male salmon provides new effective methods of controlling sexual maturation in farmed salmon. The new knowledge will also be of great importance in the management of wild salmon stocks.
Maturation in salmon reduces growth, fillet quality and activity of the immune system. This leads to poor fish welfare and downgrading of salmon at the time of harvest.
Use of light in farming cages have been a widespread method to avoid maturation in salmon. With changes in the farming environment or use of new technologies such as higher temperatures or production of large smolt in recirculation systems, early maturation however might become a problem.
By selecting salmon with correct genotype, we can further control sexual maturation in salmon under various environmental conditions. AquaGen is now working in order to exploit this knowledge both in the breeding programs and in the salmon eggs which are supplied to the industry.
This research project is a good example of how the sequencing of the salmon genome contributes to increased knowledge about salmon biology, with great benefits for both aquaculture and wild fish stock management. The work is based on the use of AquaGen’s genotyping plattform that analyzes 220,000 genetic markers.
Scientists from Centre of Integrative Genetics (CIGENE) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, University of Turku (Finland), Norwegian Institute of Natural Research (NINA), Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (NOFIMA), University of Edinburgh (UK), AquaGen, Natural Resources Institute Finland and Rådgivende Biologer have participated in the work.
Research results were published in the online edition of the prestigious journal Nature a few weeks ago, and are now profiled on the cover of the printed edition that was published this week.
Link to online version of the article can be found here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature16062.html