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Jan 22, 2017

Genomics key to conquering lice

“Knowing the complete DNA code of the salmon could have far more impact on the future sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry than moving cages further offshore,” according to the Chairman of AquaGen, Odd Magne Rødseth. Speaking at today’s Aqkva conference in Stord he also told delegates that a time when chemical delousing agents are not needed may not be so far away. Knowledge about DNA has exploded over the past decade. In 2014, the entire genome of salmon was sequenced at cost of approximately NOK 100 million. But the long term effect of this will far, far exceed those expenses, if one is to believe Odd Magne Rødseth. “The job now is to understand what all those codes mean,” he said. To illustrate the power of DNA knowledge, he pointed to the discovery that a single base pair in difference can mean that a woman has either 60% or 2% chance of getting breast cancer. “We also saw the same thing in salmon – single base pair in DNA is what separates those who are resistant to IPN and those who are not. By phasing in this in breeding we have, in a few years, more or less eradicated IPN,” he stated. Rødseth also pointed to the example of the US chicken industry, which since 1970 has reduced FCRs from 2.5:1 to 1.5:1. “A 100 million tonnes of chicken can be produced for 100 million tonnes less corn, which in turn frees up 90 million acres of farmland,” he said. “Genetic modification has also meant that today we require far less land to produce the same amount of maize,” he pointed out. Read the article.

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