Genome BC Project to Study Interactions Between Salmon and Sea Lice
Genome British Columbia has announced three research projects that will look at fisheries management and aquaculture industry challenges. One study, "Genomics in Lice and Salmon (GiLS)", lead by Dr. Simon Jones (DFO), Dr. Ben Koop (University of Victoria), Dr. William Davidson (Simon Fraser University) and Dr. Grant Murray (Vancouver Island University) will utilize genomics to understand the interaction between hosts (salmon) and parasite (louse).
The data they collect will help to explain the impact of environmental variables in the prevalence of louse infections - their origins, as well as potential therapeutic targets such as drug development.
“During an infection, we want to know how the host is responding to the parasite and how the parasite is responding to the host,” says Jones. “This information will allow us to identify ways in which we might intervene, such as drug targets in the parasite, and immunological responses in the host which could be useful in vaccine development.”
Jones points out the project's potential use in planning of aquaculture management. “We already know that there are differences in susceptibility even among species of Pacific Salmon, and the new knowledge gained from this project will help us determine where to situate salmon farms, away from the susceptible fish.”
The project is co-funded by University of Victoria, DFO, Marine Harvest, Greig Seafood, Mainstream Canada, Microtek Research & Development, BC Ministry of Agriculture & Lands and Vancouver Island University.