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Development of a new assay for a marker for use in prediction of grilse in Atlantic salmon



In a previous ACRDP the project (MG-02-04-007) the project researchers undertook a wide-ranging study of genetic and hormonal markers of grilsification and found an association between levels of Insulin-like Growth Factor -1 (IGF-1) and the level of grilsification in that particular population. This finding was particularly exciting as unlike testosterone and vitellogenin which also correlated with grilsification levels, IGF-1 data did not require knowledge of the sex of the fish for interpretation. Unfortunately, the assay for IGF-1 is a radioimmunoassay which, because it involves the use of radioactivity is cumbersome and its potential benefits have not been transferred to industry.

In order for Industry to benefit more fully from the initial research it is necessary to develop an assay for IGF-1 levels which is as sensitive as the radioimmunoassay but easier and cheaper to perform. Industry will also benefit from research to extend the scope of previous findings in order to study the wider application of the assay on the production and broodstock phases of the salmon aquaculture operation. In the future the industry may be able to modify the tools for applications in alternate species such as cod, haddock and halibut.

The project objectives are:

  • To develop and standardize a simple, cost effective assay for measurement of IGF-1 levels in Atlantic salmon.
  • To study the levels of IGF-1 in production fish several months before harvest to assess the application of the IGF-1 assay for predicting grilse in Atlantic salmon before the on-set of early maturation.
  • To study the levels of IGF-1 in broodstock fish in the months and years before grilse/salmon grading at 3 years of age to assess the application of the IGF-1 assay for predicting grilse in Atlantic salmon broodstock before onset of early maturation.
  • To provide for the industry a cheap, rapid and reliable protocols for prediction of grilse in broodstock and production lots.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2005 - 2007


Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf

Principal Investigator(s)

Brian Glebe

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