Scientists map fish species genome


Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
June 5, 2015

Scientists have announced a successful mapping of the genome for rainbow trout, which they said will greatly aid in future aquaculture endeavors.

The work, done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Agricultural Research Service, together with the University of Illinois and Israel-based genomic data company NRGene, mapped the Oncorhynchus mykiss genome, NRGene announced in a statement.

“Aquaculture is at a critical juncture. The significant decrease in the wild fish population means that they must take the lead in continuing to ensure genetic diversity while still breeding healthy, protein-rich, and disease resistant fish,” said Gil Ronen, CEO, NRGene. "Mapping a full and reliable reference genome is a critical step toward efficient breeding, and the trout is simply the first of many critical species for the aquaculture industry that must be mapped.”

The new genome will function as a better reference for trout breeding, potentially saving farmers years of work.

“Aquaculture breeding was previously done with their hands tied behind their backs, as the most basic genetic infrastructure such as a reference genome and genomic diversity databases were absent even for the key commercial species," said Ronen. “With NRGene’s big data genomic capabilities, this is no longer the case.”

In other trout-related news, a talk on the gut microbiome of farmed trout drew a crowd at the World Aquaculture 2015 conference in Jeju, Korea.

“The gut microbiome of farmed trout is far more complex than previous research has documented,” said Philip Lyons during his presentation, Exploring the rainbow trout microbiome.

Lyons’ presentation was one of 600 given by nearly 400 presenters to more than 2,000 attendees. He is working as part of his doctoral project on characterizing the gut microbiome of farmed salmonids and studying the effects of diet on it.

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