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Combined genetic and functional genomic approaches for stress and disease resistance marker assisted selection in fish and shellfish

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The overall aim of this project is to identify genes associated with stress and disease resitance in oyster, trout, sea bream, and sea bass in order to provide a physiological and genetic basis for marker-assisted selection.

These studies will be carried out for fish using stress and pathogen challenges directly relevant to aquaculture and for oyster using environmental conditions that are known to lead to significant summer mortalities.


In Part 1 of the project the genes involved in the functional response to stress or pathogen exposure will be identified. This will be carried out in the four species by (i) constructing relevant EST collections using SSH cDNA libraries which will be spotted on microarrays, followed by (ii) analysis of gene expression profiles in various tissues of animals exposed to stressors or pathogens. This analysis will be also carried out in families that are divergent for stress response or disease resistance (fish) or for summer survival (oyster).


In order to investigate relationship between potential candidate genes and QTL for these traits, Part 2 of the project will identify Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) in these candidate genes in oyster and trout. This polymorphism will be analysed both in the EST sequences and in the promoter region.


In Part 3 of the project QTL analysis will be used to identify genes that are associated with stress specific traits and disease resistance traits using previously characterized SNP and also microsatellites markers. We will also carry out mapping of these genes in linkage and gene maps.


Part 4 is devoted to outline operational genetic protocols incorporating identified QTL and traditional breeding approaches in oyster, sea bream and sea bass.


This knowledge will be transferred to the industry through organisation of workshops gathering scientists and RTD performers.