Tip of The Day - October 24, 2016

Photo by Tom Semadeni

Snowy Road

Ongoing Project

For the next few weeks I plan to discuss a project with which I am currently involved. The objective of the project is to develop a simulation program that mimics the operations of a North American salmon hatchery including the genomics for each individual. The purpose is to have a tool with which to test different options for genotyping fish, mating fish, minimizing inbreeding, minimizing feed costs, improving survivability, and maximizing genetic change.

I have written such a program for beef cattle, dairy cattle, and swine in the past, so I have a vague idea how to proceed. By discussing it here, I hope to keep myself motivated to the finish, to learn things, and maybe pick up ideas from others as I go along. At the same time maybe those that follow along will learn something too. I encourage those with ideas to email me, and I can discuss your ideas here.

The first step is to learn about Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar. This is a different species from the Pacific salmon. Atlantic salmon come in North American and European varieties. US laws prohibit the selling of salmon with too much European genetics in them. There is a King score ranging from 1 to 7, and anything below 2 is acceptable as North American. So we need to know the reproductive cycle, the genome structure, the traits of economic importance, age at mating, and any other peculiarities that may need to be considered. We need to know how a hatchery operates, and the limitations of the scale of the operation. We need to know the genetic and environmental parameters for all of the traits to consider. That is a lot to cover.

Photo by Tom Semadeni

Stream in Snow