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Impact of aquaculture on the immune response genes of natural salmonid populations: spatial and temporal genetic signatures and potential fitness consequences *

Contract nr: QLRT-CT-2000-01185
Project type: RS (Research and Technological Development Project)
Starting date:
Duration: 36 months
Total cost: 1,964,196 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,354,113 EUR
Scientific Officer:
Research topic: 5.1.2. Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture

Abstract:
SALIMPACT assesses the extent to which disease transmission and escaped fish from Atlantic salmon aquaculture affect genetic variation in natural populations of Atlantic salmon and brown trout. This is achieved by comparative analyses of loci that are critically involved in immune responses (i.e. major histocompatibility complex genes, MHC) with selectively-neutral microsatellite loci. Spatial and temporal genetic studies of affected and unaffected salmonid populations in two geographical regions will be complemented by field experiments testing for fitness differences among MHC genotypes. This allows assessments of potential fitness consequence of disease impacts on MHC variability in natural populations.

Objectives:
The objective of SALIMPACT is to assess the extent to which disease transmission has, or has had, an impact on genetic variation in natural salmonid populations. Genetic signatures of impact on aquaculture will be identified by comparison of patterns of variability at selected and neutral markers. We have developed molecular tools to investigate genetic variation at loci that are critically involved in the immune response (i.e. major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes) with variability at a number of selectively-neutral markers (microsatellites). Cases both temporal and spatial, comprising of affected (i.e. with documented history of impact) and unaffected Atlantic salmon and brown trout populations, will be identified and analysed. These studies will be complemented with field experiments which will assess the effect of mate choice and the fitness consequences of different MHC genotype frequencies in populations under semi-natural and natural conditions.


Coordinator
Baukje VRIESWIJK
WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITY
Wageningen
THE NETHERLANDS
Tel.: +31 317482260
Fax: +31 317483962
E-mail: baukje.vrieswijk@alg.sdw.wau.nl


Partners
  Mary CUSAK
UNIVESITY COLLEGE CORK - NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, CORK
Cork
IRELAND
Tel.: +353 21902347
Fax: +353 21903018
E-mail: mcusack@ucc.ie
  Tor G. HEGGBERGET
THE FOUNDATION FOR NATURE RESEARCH AND CULTURAL HERITAGE RESEARCH
Trondheim
NORWAY
Tel.: +47 73801400
Fax: +47 73801401
E-mail: tor.heggberget@ninatrd.ninaniku.no
  Christina HERTERICH
ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON
London
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel.: +44 2074496689
Fax: +44 2075862237
E-mail: Christina.Herterich@ioz.ac.uk
  Ken WHELAN
MARINE INSTITUTE
Newport, Co. Mayo
IRELAND
Tel.: +353 9841107
Fax: +353 9841107
E-mail: kwhelan@iol.ie