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Rainbow trout. Link to photo information
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Gene Knowledge Helps in Search for Larger Trout

By Sharon Durham
January 13, 2006

New genes that may regulate growth in rainbow trout to provide larger fish to a growing sector of the food industry have been discovered by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

Molecular biologists Scott Gahr and Caird Rexroad III of the ARS National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture in Leetown, W.Va., are comparing genes known to be responsible for growth and development in mammals with similar genes in rainbow trout.

Gahr and Rexroad identified four new rainbow trout genes called Inhibitor of DNA Binding/Differentiation (ID) genes, and further characterized two previously identified genes. The ID genes are involved with muscle growth and development. Knowing more about how these and other associated genes function could allow scientists to breed fish with more muscle--meaning more edible flesh for consumers.

The researchers developed and conducted tests for each of the rainbow trout ID genes to learn more about the specific roles they play in trout growth and development.

ID gene sequences have been entered into GenBank, the National Institutes of Health's genetic sequence database, and expression patterns of the genes in different tissues and times during embryonic development were published in May 2005. To facilitate progress in this research area, information on genes must be made available to any scientist interested in doing work that will help the rainbow trout industry, according to the researchers.

Read more about the research in the January 2006 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.