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Using a Genomics Approach to Identify Atlantic Salmon Aquaculture Escapees and Hybrids


Sampling for possible offspring of escaped farmed Atlantic salmon. Credit: Chris Hendry, DFO

The cultivation of Atlantic salmon has increased exponentially since the late 1960s with expansion into new geographic areas (e.g., Newfoundland) and use of new selectively bred strains from both North America and Europe. Coincident with this expansion has been an increased risk of farmed salmon escapes, which has the potential to impact the diversity of wild Atlantic salmon populations. This project will attempt to identify and apply targeted groups of genetic markers to quantify the genetic impacts of farmed Atlantic salmon on wild populations and the frequency of interbreeding in the wild. This proposal directly targets client needs and is a first step towards identifying impacts and strategies for alleviating those impacts that result from interactions among wild and farmed salmon escapees in Atlantic Canada.

This project extends earlier work that developed expertise for genome wide marker development in non-model species. In this proposal, the impact of farmed escapees on wild populations will be quantified by:

  1. combining existing genomic data and modern DNA sequencing methods to develop a group of genetic markers (single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs) for rapid and accurate identification of farmed salmon escapees, including all strains in use or under consideration for use in Atlantic Canada; and
  2. applying this genomic screening tool to rapidly and accurately quantify both the presence of escapes and recent hybrids in the wild focusing on Newfoundland and Maritimes regions.

Scientific Tttle for this project:

Rapid Genomic Screening for Atlantic Salmon Aquaculture Escapees and Hybrids Using RAD-Seq and a High Throughput Nanofluidic Dynamic Array

Program Name

Genomics Research and Development Initiative (GRDI)


2014 - 2017

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Ian Bradbury

Lorraine Hamilton

Geoff Perry
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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