SalmoSV: Unveiling the evolutionary and functional impact of genomic structural variants of Atlantic salmon

Funding source:
Project no:
Main Objective:
December 2021 – November 2024
Marie Saitou
FRIPRO Young Talent, NFR
8 mill NOK
The objective of this project is to reveal which and how genomic structural variants have driven adaptive evolution with the functional advantage in domesticated Atlantic salmon.



Genomic structural variants contribute largely to phenotypic diversity, including disease susceptibility, metabolism, morphology and growth traits. However, due to their complex nature, which and how structural variants have contributed to adaptive evolution with functional advantage are yet to be clarified. To identify adaptive structural variants and clarify their phenotypic advantage at the molecular scale, I propose (1) cutting-edge bioinformatics approaches that integrate multiple omics data sets (population genomics, gene expression during development, and aquaculture traits) and (2) functional investigation with gene-editing technology at the cellular and organismal levels. This project will link how genomic structural variants contribute to the phenotypic diversity including aquacultural traits and adaptive evolution in domesticated Atlantic salmon populations. On a broader scale, this study will establish a pipeline to investigate the phenotypic and evolutionary effect of structural variants in non-model organisms, including aqua- and agricultural species and endangered species. Understanding genetic diversity also contributes to the sustainable maintaining of both wild and farmed Atlantic salmons.


This study will reveal the evolution and phenotypic impact of structural variants, by developing novel bioinformatics tools and establishing cutting-edge gene-editing methods. This contribution will bring a new paradigm in how we understand the impact of genomic variation on phenotypic variation. Despite the significant impact of structural variants on phenotype, the experimental method to investigate the phenotype of structural variants with the CRISPR-Cas9 is yet to be established in non-model organisms. Establishing a CRISPR-Cas9-based approach to induce structural variants in Atlantic salmon will bring a new venue for functional investigation of structural variants in broad species. Overall, the methods developed in this study will also provide a pipeline to estimate the phenotypic impact of structural variants and understand the evolution of structural variants in a wide range of species.

CIGENE researchers involved: Marie Saitou, Guro Sandvik

Logo created by Domniki Manousi

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