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HAVBRUK2-Stort program for havbruksforskning

Improving resistance of farmed Atlantic cod to francisellosis: interplay between host-pathogen interactions, environment, and genetics

Alternative title: Forbedring av resistens hos oppdrettet atlantisk torsk mot francisellose: samspill mellom vert-patogen-interaksjoner, miljø og genetikk

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

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Project Period:

2023 - 2028

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The main goal of FRANTIC is to improve the ability of farmed Atlantic cod to resist francisellosis, a disease threatening fish health and welfare, and causing substantial economic losses to cod farmers. Currently, there are no preventive measures or treatments against francisellosis. In FRANTIC we investigate how francisellosis develops and how severely fish is affected by francisellosis in different water temperatures. We examine and determine how the disease and its severity can be registered from numerous individuals, and how these registrations can be utilized in selective breeding. We will assess how large proportion of the differences in resistance between families and individuals is genetic, and if possible, which genetic variants or genes affect resistance. We will do this by exposing groups of family members of cod to this disease and registering how the disease affects different fish and families. Furthermore, we will investigate the effectiveness of the existing vaccine candidates and develop new vaccines, and consequently assess if vaccination can be part of the strategy to prevent francisellosis outbreaks in field. In FRANTIC, scientist representing several scientific disciplines will gain knowledge on francisellosis in Atlantic cod and support further development of sustainable Norwegian cod aquaculture.

FRANTIC brings together an interdisciplinary team of experts on genetics, immunology, fish biology, microbiology, and vaccinology to find solutions to counteract the multi-levelled adverse effects of francisellosis outbreaks in Norwegian Atlantic cod aquaculture. Francisellosis, a disease caused by Francisella noatunensis ssp. noatunensis, threatens fish health and welfare, causes substantial economic losses to the cod farmers, and hampers sustainable growth of current and future aquaculture. Currently, there are no preventive measures or treatments against francisellosis; an interdisciplinary approach combining state-of-the-art methods is imperative to improve resistance of Atlantic cod to francisellosis. FRANTIC will characterize the pathogen in different culture conditions, pathogenesis and host-pathogen interactions in cohabitant test, and push for development of in-vitro challenge models. Based on this knowledge, novel high-throughput phenotypes will be determined, suitable for genetic and genomic studies. We will quantify the genetic variation, unravel the genetic architecture (SNP variation, QTL detection), and search for functional genetic variation in francisellosis resistance traits, by combining family-based challenge test phenotypes together with the state-of-the-art genetic/genomic technologies. We will further assess the efficacy of existing vaccine candidates, develop new candidate vaccine targets, and consequently apprize the potential of vaccination as a part of the strategy to counteract francisellosis outbreaks in field. FRANTIC, with its interdisciplinary approach, will create a knowledge base regarding francisellosis in Atlantic cod, and support further development of sustainable Norwegian cod aquaculture.

Funding scheme:

HAVBRUK2-Stort program for havbruksforskning

Thematic Areas and Topics

No thematic area or topic related to the project