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STRESSGENES
A functional genomic approach to measuring stress in fish aquaculture

The purpose of this study is to measure stress levels in fish. The recent development of genomic tools, particularly micro-array technology, allows a systematic gene expression analysis of biological material and provides an integrated overview of the global response at the level of gene expression. Such information is of major importance for identifying genes responsible for genetic variation in response to stress, and for further development of a sufficient number of molecular markers, a critical requirement for marker-assisted selection schemes. The present study proposes, for the first time, to apply this new functional genomic approach to examine a complex physiological problem: analysis of the pattern of gene expression at the tissue level in response to exposure to a stressor. This should lead to the characterisation of stress-responsive genes as potential candidate gene markers.

Objectives
The overall aim of the project is to identify candidate genes in rainbow trout that are associated with resistance to stress conditions. This information will constitute the physiological and genetic basis for new selection strategies. This will imply the following tasks:
1) development of genomic techniques, which will allow analysis of gene expression on a large scale (micro-array technology)
2) use of this technology to identify those genes where expression is modified during the application of a stressor (handling/confinement, salinity change, hypoxia, pathogen exposure, temperature change)
3) carrying out a more complete characterisation of a limited number of genes in relation to physiological responses following exposure to the stressors
4) analysing the stress-responsive genes previously characterised using trout families selected for a particular trait (response to acute stress, growth or salinity).

Progress to Date
During the first year of the project, research activity was mainly concentrated on the development of genomic techniques and biological tools necessary for the production of micro-arrays. In order to construct a large collection of cDNA corresponding to genes involved in the stress response, several stress experiments (hypoxia, confinement, salinity, temperature, pathogen exposure) have been carried out and RNA from various tissues prepared. Using these RNA preparations, cDNA collections enriched in genes involved in the stress response have been prepared. From these collections, the interesting genes will be selected to be further put on a common micro-array. Analysis of gene expression profiles using this micro-array will be carried out during the second year of the project.

Classified in FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE, GENOMICS

Scientist responsible for the project

D. PATRICK PRUNET
Campus de Beaulieu
35042 Rennes
France - FR

Phone: +33 2 23 48 50 14
Fax: +33 2 23 48 50 20
E-mail: prunet@beaulieu.rennes.inra.fr

References

Project ID QLRT-2000-02211
Organisation INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE
Area 5.1.2
Start date 11 January 2001
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 2 981 358 €
Total EC contribution   2 167 770 €
Status Ongoing
Web address of the project   http://www.irisa.fr/stressgenes

The partners

  • THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL, United Kingdom (The) - GB
    jman@ceh.ac.uk
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