Using salmon genome to adapt fish to warm water

Warmer ocean temperatures resulting from climate change may lead to earlier sexual maturation in salmon – which could spell problems for the aquaculture industry. Now, the Institute of Marine Research is applying knowledge about the salmon genome in experiments to influence the onset of puberty in farmed salmon through selective breeding.

The project, called Salmat, receives funding from the Research Council of Norway as part the research effort targeted towards understanding climate change and the adaptations it requires.

“The project’s objective is to identify genes or regions of genetic material that regulate the onset age of sexual maturation in salmon,” explains project manager Anna Wargelius, who is a senior scientist at the Institute of Marine Research. “Since puberty is also modulated by environmental factors such as light, temperature and food supply, the project will study whether and how environmental factors affect the genes that control sexual maturation.”

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