Our SFF application for a Centre for Salmonid Genome Evolution and Adaptation (SalGENE) was submitted today, concluding a long writing spree by our excellent team of Principal Investigators and partners on four continents. A decision is expected near Christmas.

We are very happy with the submitted proposal, which if funded will establish an internationally leading centre that will perform groundbreaking research to significantly advance our understanding of genome evolution, adaptive divergence, and the genetic architecture of complex traits using salmonid fishes as a study system.

Centre for Salmonid Genome Evolution and Adaptation (SalGENE)

Host institution: Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

Centre Director: Prof. Sigbjørn Lien, NMBU

Principal Investigators (PIs):

Dr. Simen Rød Sandve, Dr. Nicola Jane Barson, Dr. Jon Olav Vik and Dr. Matthew Peter Kent, NMBU
Prof. Ben Koop, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada
Prof. Louis Bernatchez, Université Laval, Québec, Canada

SalGENE collaborative network

Project summary

The Team

SalGENE will use salmonid fishes as a study system to advance our understanding of genome evolution and adaptation. Salmonids are exceptionally well suited to shed light on these processes, having undergone divergent scenarios of adaptive evolution following a recent whole genome duplication (WGD) event. Crucially, the recent ‘omics’ revolution is finally enabling the application of state-of-the-art molecular and systems biology approaches to understand both ultimate and proximate causes of evolution in salmonids. Taking advantage of these new possibilities, we will reveal how WGD generates evolutionary novelty and adaptive divergence, elucidate how natural selection drives the evolution of genetic architecture, and how balancing and sexually antagonistic selection influence fitness variation and divergence. By linking omics data to mathematical models of salmonid physiology, we will pursue a systems biological understanding of complex traits. SalGENE will remove barriers to understanding the genetics and evolution of complex traits, a central current challenge in biology.SalGENE will bring together world-leading expertise in genomics, genetics, evolutionary biology, ecology, physiology, bioinformatics, and systems biology, to create a focal environment for the development and sharing of knowledge and tools across the international network of salmonid biologists. The establishment of this CoE will facilitate collaboration with top international researchers and provide a cutting-edge environment that offers cross-disciplinary training for MSc, PhD and postdocs attractive to young talents. SalGENE will provide an inclusive, international platform from which to exploit the potential of salmonid biology for the next decade and beyond, yielding fundamental new insights into genome evolution and adaptation, while underpinning the sustainable management of farmed and wild populations of these economically, culturally and environmentally important fishes.

Project objectives

SalGENE will establish an internationally leading centre that will perform groundbreaking research to significantly advance our understanding of genome evolution, adaptive divergence, and the genetic architecture of complex traits using salmonid fishes as a study system.

  • Advance our understanding of genome evolution after whole genome duplication (WGD), comparing and contrasting how different traits have been impacted by WGD and to establish how these processes lead to evolutionary novelty.
  • Determine the genetic architecture and evolution of fitness-related traits, including the role of natural selection in shaping genetic architecture and associated adaptive divergence in the wild.
  • Uncover the genotype-phenotype relationships of complex traits related to artificial selection and domestication and to provide a systems biology framework to understand these relationships.