Salmon breeders get a boost
with SNP array

Innovative genetic tools to speed the breeding of North American Atlantic salmon are being made available to breeders in the United States for the first time, with help from Breeding Insight, a new program funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) through Cornell University

North American Atlantic salmon are the primary marine finfish grown for aquaculture in the United States, representing nearly $88 million in economic activity. Until now, uniquely developed genomic resources were not publicly available for research and breeding of North American Atlantic salmon in the United States, due to intellectual property (IP) constraints from competing commercial interests.

That’s about to change.

88
in economic activity ($) is generated by North American Atlantic salmon.
50,000
copies of the SNP set will be processed by The Center for Aquacultural Technologies’ genotyping service.

North American Atlantic salmon traits of interest range from sea lice and disease resistance to fillet color and composition of beneficial fatty acids. But designing the genomic resources required to accelerate breeding takes time, and ARS research groups must balance competing priorities to develop aquacultural technologies for breeders.

“By combining traditional breeding approaches with genomics and informatics, it is now possible to accurately predict some of the traits and performance of an individual long before it matures,” said Dr. Moira Sheehan, Director of Breeding Insight. “But the challenges facing specialty species such as salmon too often hamper technology adoption and limit program efficiency. Our goal at Breeding Insight is to level the playing field and create new opportunities for specialty crop and animal breeders to take value out of the genomics era.”

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