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sector_ico_Fisheries_trans Fisheries and Aquaculture

International Cooperation Project to Sequence the Atlantic Salmon Genome (ICSASG)

  • Project Leaders: Willie Davidson, Alejandro Maass, Ben Koop, Inge Jonassen, Patricia Iturra, Rodrigo Vidal, Sigbjorn Lien, Steven Jones, Stig Omholt
  • Institutions: Genome British Columbia
  • Budget: $10000000
  • Program/Competition: Applied Genomics Programs
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Fiscal Year: 2009
  • Status: Active

The international cooperation which involves researchers, funding bodies and industry from Canada, Chile and Norway has sequenced the Atlantic salmon genome using Sanger and next-generation technologies, and integrated sequences with comparative genomics to produce a high quality reference genome for use by researchers and industry. Salmonids play a key commercial and environmental role, accounting for over $600 million annually of Canada’s aquaculture revenues, but until recently, only some salmon genetic information was known. This effort has generated a high quality resource that will benefit the commercial salmon fishery in BC and worldwide. The salmon genome can provide important information about the impact of cultured fish escapees on wild populations, preservation of populations that are at risk, strategies for fighting pathogens, and environmental sustainability issues, and also provide a reference genome for work with other salmonids, such as rainbow trout. Worldwide, commercial salmon production exceeds one billion pounds annually, with about 70% coming from aquaculture salmon farms. In addition to being an important economic resource, salmon and other salmonid species such as trout are considered “sentinel species” for monitoring water quality, and are important markers for ecotoxicology studies. Finally, the successful completion of the Atlantic salmon genome provides a basis for continued partnerships between these and other countries involved in research and industrial development of salmonids.