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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Dec 14, 2004
End Date: Dec 01, 2009

1. Obtain and compare performance of selected North American Atlantic salmon stocks for utilization in an applied selective breeding program. 2. Estimate genotypic and phenotypic parameters for commercially important traits and develop a selection index. 3. Evaluate specific breeding aids such as polyploidy (triploid) and sex-reversal (all-female stocks) for benefits to Atlantic salmon aquaculture. 4. Conduct molecular genetic analyses to establish that the identity of foundation salmon stocks are North American origin. 5. Conduct preliminary evaluations for producing mono-sex and polyploid Atlantic salmon in cooperation with the USDA, ARS National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture in Leetown, WV.

An applied Atlantic salmon breeding program will be initiated and include individual families from multiple stocks. Eyed eggs will be obtained yearly from collaborating private and public hatcheries. Triploid fish will also be obtained and evaluated to determine effect on salmon production. Fish will be cultured in individual tanks supplied with water from a recirculating biological filtration system. After the fish reach approximately 15-20 grams, fish from each stock will be individually pit tagged and stocked into separate tanks. Following smoltification and health certification, fish will be transported to sea-cages in cooperation with industry collaborators. A nucleus of fish will be saved for future broodstock in a biosecure culture system. Fish performance will be evaluated on data collected from sea cages and a determination made on which fish to spawn as a selected line. Only broodfish maturing at 4 years of age will be spawned as selected parents. Plans are to obtain and evaluate a minimum of 150 families each year for the first three years of the breeding program. In the fourth year, broodfish from the research program will be available to produce second-generation families and no eggs from external sources will be required. Molecular evidence needs to be developed to prove that foundation stock for the genetic improvement project are truly North American Atlantic Salmon. It is imperative to document the integrity of foundation families for a scientifically sound program. Genetic origin of foundation stocks will be determined using a multi-locus panel of microsatellites. Genotype summary information will be compared to the summary genotype information in the USFWS database to determine continent of origin for each fish.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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