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Consortium Providing $17M to Research Salmon, Trout Resistance to Caligus and SRS

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Blue Genomics Consortium Chile is providing $17 million in funding to perform genomics-based research into why some Atlantic salmon and trout seem resistant to Caligus and Salmon Rickettsial Syndrome (SRS).

Chilean government organization Corporation for Production Development (CORFO) last year approved $7.9 million to the project, which includes four partners, AquaGen Norway, Chile AquaGen, German vaccine production firm Vaxxinova, and Norwegian company BioBank.

Caligus is a species of sea lice that can be vectors for diseases. Caligus rogercresseyi, in particular, is a major concern for salmon farms in Chile.

SRS, which also goes by Piscirickettsiosis or Coho salmon septicaemia or Huito disease, is caused by the bacterium Piscirickettsia salmonis, and in some years has caused as much as $100 million in economic losses to the Chilean salmon farming industry, according to estimates.

The project, which is being funded over an eight-year period, will be carried out in four stages. In the first, the Atlantic salmon and trout genomes will be investigated for genetic attributes that may confer resistance to SRS and Caligus. Such genes and other biomarkers will be identified, and in later years, studies will be directed at the expression of the genes, their products, and the roles they play or are involved in.

Research will also be directed at the relationship between the host and pathogen, and a biobank will be created, through which the consortium will offer storage services using cryopreserved tissue, DNA and RNA extraction, and the cryopreservation of semen.

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