Salmon genome collaboration published in Nature

April 19, 2016, Simon Fraser University

SFU professor Willie Davidson is part of an international research team shedding new light on genome evolution. The researchers have established a "human" quality sequence of the Atlantic salmon genome that is now available online. Their work has been published in the prestigious journal Nature.

According to the researchers, the Atlantic salmon is 2.97 gigabases in size and contains 37,000 genes across 29 chromosomes, and is similar in size to the . This latest work means technologies developed for humans can be applied to wild and around the world.

"The Atlantic salmon's genome has already enabled a refinement of the rainbow trout genome and is providing a framework for sequencing and assembling the genomes of other salmonids, such as Coho salmon and Arctic char," says Davidson, a professor in SFU's Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. "The completion of the Atlantic salmon's genome allows this species to take its place beside domesticated animals (e.g., cattle, sheep, pig, chicken) whose genomes are being used routinely to enhance livestock production."

The team characterized a Whole Genome Duplication (WGD) event, or mutation, that occurred in 80 million years ago, the fourth in the salmonid lineage, and studied the implications of the salmonid's unique capacity to double its genes, enabling them to dramatically expand the interaction of genes and their environment.

While they found the salmonid genome is returning to its original stage following a period of genomic instability, some traces of duplication remain today.

"The Atlantic salmon genome provides insights into rediploidization" was the result of collaboration between Davidson and the University of Victoria's Dr. Ben Koop, working as part of an international project involving experts from Canada, Chile and Norway. The project is supported by the International Cooperation to Sequence the Atlantic Salmon Genome (ICSASG).

The research provides a reference genome sequence and an atlas of genes that gives a whole new scientific baseline from which to improve and understand fisheries, conservation, ecology, physiology, evolution and aquaculture for over 70 economically, culturally and environmentally important salmonid species.

The published research ensures that salmon genes, and opportunities for sustainable farming and wild salmon management, are just a mouse click away.

"This publication is a testament to the successful partnership of the ICSASG: they have unravelled the extreme complexity of this species' genome, generated significant amounts of new knowledge and addressed many technological hurdles" says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome British Columbia. "The collaboration leaves behind a legacy that will benefit research and sustainable development of this economically and environmentally important species in Canada, Norway and Chile and other countries for years to come."

Explore further: Salmon genome sequenced

More information: Sigbjørn Lien et al. The Atlantic salmon genome provides insights into rediploidization, Nature (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nature17164

Related Stories

Salmon genome sequenced

June 10, 2014

Today the International Cooperation to Sequence the Atlantic Salmon Genome (ICSASG) announced completion of a fully mapped and openly accessible salmon genome. This reference genome will provide crucial information to fish ...

Salmon genome in final phases of completion

November 23, 2011

The International Cooperation to Sequence the Atlantic Salmon Genome (ICSASG, the "Cooperation") has awarded the Phase II contract for next-generation sequencing and analysis of the Atlantic salmon genome to the J. Craig ...

Study Reveals Genetic Secrets Of Pacific Sea Louse

April 1, 2009

( -- Sea lice found in the Pacific Ocean are very different genetically from sea lice in the Atlantic Ocean, a study team co-led by a University of Victoria researcher has found.

In Atlantic salmon fight, Greenland proves a sticking point

March 13, 2016

Preventing the long-imperiled Atlantic salmon from disappearing from American waters will require the U.S. to put pressure on Inuit fishermen in Greenland to stop harvesting a fish that has fed them for hundreds of years, ...

Researchers discover size gene for salmon

November 4, 2015

The size of returning Atlantic salmon is largely dependent on the number of years that the salmon remains at sea before returning to spawn in the river. The genetic basis of this trait has not been previously known, making ...

Recommended for you

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.