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Genetic Characterization of Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (ISAV) Field Isolates



In 2005 the ISAV surveillance program operated by the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture has identified a preponderance of salmon infected with genetically distinct ISAV isolates, both of North American and European descent, some of which seem to be more virulent than others. The apparent disparity in virulence makes management decisions on infected fish difficult in light of many unanswered questions.

The existence of different isolates, which may or may not be possible to detect with all existing diagnostic assays, and the inability of these routine assays to differentiate between isolates of variable virulence complicates the management of ISA. Therefore, studies are needed to further characterize isolates at the genetic level and to determine the virulence differences between ISAV isolates so that

  1. rapid economical improved assays for the differentiation of isolates in routine surveillance programs can be developed and
  2. intelligent and economical management of the disease can occur.

The goal of this project is to further characterize existing and emerging ISAV isolates in the Bay of Fundy at the genetic level. This work will provide the ground work for testing of functional virulence differences amongst the genetic variants or isolates of ISAV.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2006 - 2006


Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary

Principal Investigator(s)

Nellie Gagné

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