VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 7, 2009) - The economically important, environmentally sensitive Atlantic salmon species will have its genome fully sequenced, thanks to an international collaboration involving researchers, funding agencies and industry from Canada, Chile and Norway.
Genome BC is partnering with the Chilean Economic Development Agency, InnovaChile, Norwegian Research Council, Norwegian Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund to form the International Cooperation to Sequence the Atlantic Salmon Genome (Cooperation).
The Cooperation will invest approximately US$6 million in phase one of a multi-phased project to produce a genome sequence that identifies and maps all of the genes in the Atlantic salmon genome and can act as a reference/guide sequence for the genomes of other salmonids (e.g. Pacific salmon, rainbow trout and more distantly related fish such as smelt and pike.)
With salmonid product exports from Norway, Chile and Canada valued at US$3.4 billion, US$2.3 billion and US$0.6 billion, respectively in 2007, the sequenced genome will be an important public resource that may lead to better management of wild fish stocks, breeding selection for commercially important traits, and elements of food quality, security and traceability.
In addition, the fully annotated salmon genome will provide important clues about the impact of cultured fish escapees on wild populations, conservation of populations at risk, strategies for combating pathogens, as well as allowing for more accurate assessments of the sustainability of aquatic environments.
Dr. Ben Koop sits on the Cooperation's Executive Science Committee. "This project is an international effort to address - in a whole new way - questions that are of economic and social importance to aquaculture, conservation, and the environment," he says.
"The genomic data that we will acquire will be crucial to the development of new methods and products that will assist the world's wild fisheries and aquaculture industries," says Genome BC's Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Pierre Meulien. "In addition, this research builds on knowledge obtained through earlier fisheries research funded by Genome BC."
Following the release of a Request for Proposals in June 2009, the Cooperation completed a rigorous international scientific peer review process and selected Beckman Coulter Genomics Inc., formerly Agencourt Bioscience and Cogenics, of Beverly, Massachusetts to fulfill the contract for phase one of the project.
Beckman Coulter Genomics, well known for their role in the sequencing of many high profile genomes, will complete phase one of the project, (worth approximately US $6 million,) by early 2011 and release the data as quickly as possible into the public domain.
"This research investment will result in an invaluable resource that can be used by any research group around the world," says Dr. Sigbjørn Lien of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and the Cooperation's Executive Science Committee.
Dr. Alejandro Maas of the University of Chile is also a member of the Executive Science Committee. "Through better understanding of this species, and its genome, this timely and strategic research collaboration will enable the growth and management of a global fishery," he says.
International Collaboration to Sequence the Atlantic Salmon Genome
The International Cooperation to Sequence the Atlantic Salmon Genome is an international collaboration involving researchers, funding agencies and industry from Canada, Chile and Norway.
The Atlantic salmon is a species not only important economically, but also to the social fabric of these countries, and many others worldwide. Export values of salmonid products from Norway, Chile and Canada were US$3.4 billion, US$ 2.3 billion and US$ 0.6 billion respectively in 2007.
A better scientific understanding of this species and its genome is a critical step towards improving the growth and management of a global fishery. The goal of this collaboration is to produce a genome sequence that:
1. identifies and physically maps all of the genes in the Atlantic salmon genome, and
2. can act as a reference / guide sequence for the genomes of other salmonids (e.g., Pacific salmon and rainbow trout) and more distantly related fish (e.g., smelt and pike).
SELECTED VENDOR FOR PHASE 1
About the Vendor Selection Process
All proposals considered as part of the Phase 1 Request for Proposals process underwent rigorous peer review by an International Scientific Review Committee. The Committee membership included esteemed scientists from participating countries, who were experts in the areas of genome science, bioinformatics and genomics. Proposals were evaluated on project understanding, methods and the proposed analysis and interpretation of data, data management, capacity and capabilities, as well as budget.
About Beckman Coulter Genomics
Beckman Coulter Genomics, headquartered in Beverly, Massachusetts is a leading provider of genomic services and nucleic acid purification products, serving life-science researchers and the pharmaceutical industry throughout the world. The company was created by combining Beckman Coulter's Agencourt Bioscience with the newly acquired Cogenics. By providing technical expertise, combined with personalized service, Beckman Coulter Genomics delivers the highest-quality data, robust analyses and innovative thinking. For more information, visit www.beckmangenomics.com.
Partners: Genome British Columbia, InnovaChile and Chilean Economic Development Agency, The Norwegian Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund and the Norwegian Research Council (which includes contributions from Marine Harvest ASA, Salmobreed AS, AquaGen AS and Cermaq ASA)
Total Phase 1 Funding: $6 million to be completed in early 2011.
EXECUTIVE SCIENCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
|Dr. William Davidson – Simon Fraser University |
|Dr. Patricia Iturra – University of Chile |
|Dr. Inge Jonassen – University of Bergen |
|Dr. Steven Jones – University of British Columbia & Simon Fraser University |
|Dr. Ben Koop – University of Victoria |
|Dr. Sigbjørn Lien – Norwegian University of Life Sciences |
|Dr. Alejandro Maas – University of Chile |
|Dr. Stig Omholt – Norwegian University of Life Sciences |
|Dr. Rodrigo Vidal – University of Santiago |
The Chilean Economic Development Agency
The Chilean Economic Development Agency is an autonomous agency of the Chilean State with legal capacity and equity and is an agency responsible for promoting the economic development of Chile, competitiveness and investment for production modernization. For more information visit www.corfo.cl.
InnovaChile is a committee of the Chilean Economic Development Agency. This Committee promotes development and innovation and works to raise the competitiveness of the Chilean economy by significantly increasing the number of companies in Chile which integrate innovation in their competitive strategies. It fosters pre-competitive innovation of public-interest, promotes and facilitates innovation in companies, encourages entrepreneurial development, favours technology transfer, and strengthens the National Innovation System. For more information visit www.corfo.cl/acerca_de_corfo/innova_chile.
Genome British Columbia
Founded in 2000, Genome BC works collaboratively with government, universities and industry as the catalyst for a genomics-driven life sciences cluster with significant social and economic benefits for the Province and Canada. The organization's research portfolio, over $410 million since inception, includes 74 projects and technology platforms focused on areas of strategic importance to British Columbia such as human health, forestry, fisheries, bioenergy, mining, agriculture, and the environment. Genome BC programs are funded by Genome Canada, the Provincial Government of British Columbia, Western Economic Diversification Canada and other public and private partners. For more information visit www.genomebc.ca.
The Norwegian Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund
The Norwegian Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund is a funding program for industrial research and development work within fisheries and aquaculture and is based on a levy placed on all exported fish and fish products from Norway. The funds shall be used for industrial research and development work for the benefit of all or of part of the industry and are distributed in the form of grants for research programs and major projects. The Fund is administered by a Board appointed by the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs. For more information visit www.fhl.no.
The Norwegian Research Council
The Norwegian Research Council is Norway's official body for the development and implementation of national research strategy and is responsible for enhancing Norway's knowledge base and for promoting basic and applied research and innovation in order to help meet research needs within Norway and to encourage international research and cooperation. For more information visit www.forskningsradet.no.