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1.  Comparative transcriptomics of Atlantic Salmo salar, chum Oncorhynchus keta and pink salmon O. gorbuscha during infections with salmon lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):200.
Salmon species vary in susceptibility to infections with the salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis). Comparing mechanisms underlying responses in susceptible and resistant species is important for estimating impacts of infections on wild salmon, selective breeding of farmed salmon, and expanding our knowledge of fish immune responses to ectoparasites. Herein we report three L. salmonis experimental infection trials of co-habited Atlantic Salmo salar, chum Oncorhynchus keta and pink salmon O. gorbuscha, profiling hematocrit, blood cortisol concentrations, and transcriptomic responses of the anterior kidney and skin to the infection.
In all trials, infection densities (lice per host weight (g)) were consistently highest on chum salmon, followed by Atlantic salmon, and lowest in pink salmon. At 43 days post-exposure, all lice had developed to motile stages, and infection density was uniformly low among species. Hematocrit was reduced in infected Atlantic and chum salmon, and cortisol was elevated in infected chum salmon. Systemic transcriptomic responses were profiled in all species and large differences in response functions were identified between Atlantic and Pacific (chum and pink) salmon. Pink and chum salmon up-regulated acute phase response genes, including complement and coagulation components, and down-regulated antiviral immune genes. The pink salmon response involved the largest and most diverse iron sequestration and homeostasis mechanisms. Pattern recognition receptors were up-regulated in all species but the active components were often species-specific. C-type lectin domain family 4 member M and acidic mammalian chitinase were specifically up-regulated in the resistant pink salmon.
Experimental exposures consistently indicated increased susceptibility in chum and Atlantic salmon, and resistance in pink salmon, with differences in infection density occurring within the first three days of infection. Transcriptomic analysis suggested candidate resistance functions including local inflammation with cytokines, specific innate pattern recognition receptors, and iron homeostasis. Suppressed antiviral immunity in both susceptible and resistant species indicates the importance of future work investigating co-infections of viral pathogens and lice.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-200) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4004277  PMID: 24628956
Ecological genomics; Ectoparasite; Host-parasite; Immunity; Inflammation; Iron; Atlantic salmon; Pacific salmon; Sea lice; Transcriptomics
2.  Genomics of sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria): expressed genes, mitochondrial phylogeny, linkage map and identification of a putative sex gene 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:452.
The sablefish (order: Scorpaeniformes) is an economically important species in commercial fisheries of the North Pacific and an emerging species in aquaculture. Aside from a handful of sequences in NCBI and a few published microsatellite markers, little is known about the genetics of this species. The development of genetic tools, including polymorphic markers and a linkage map will allow for the successful development of future broodstock and mapping of phenotypes of interest. The significant sexual dimorphism between females and males makes a genetic test for early identification of sex desirable.
A full mitochondrial genome is presented and the resulting phylogenetic analysis verifies the placement of the sablefish within the Scorpaeniformes. Nearly 35,000 assembled transcript sequences are used to identify genes and obtain polymorphic SNP and microsatellite markers. 360 transcribed polymorphic loci from two sablefish families produce a map of 24 linkage groups. The sex phenotype maps to sablefish LG14 of the male map. We show significant conserved synteny and conservation of gene-order between the threespine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus and sablefish. An additional 1843 polymorphic SNP markers are identified through next-generation sequencing techniques. Sex-specific markers and sequence insertions are identified immediately upstream of the gene gonadal-soma derived factor (gsdf), the master sex determinant locus in the medaka species Oryzias luzonensis.
The first genomic resources for sablefish provide a foundation for further studies. Over 35,000 transcripts are presented, and the genetic map represents, as far as we can determine, the first linkage map for a member of the Scorpaeniformes. The observed level of conserved synteny and comparative mapping will allow the use of the stickleback genome in future genetic studies on sablefish and other related fish, particularly as a guide to whole-genome assembly. The identification of sex-specific insertions immediately upstream of a known master sex determinant implicates gsdf as an excellent candidate for the master sex determinant for sablefish.
PMCID: PMC3708741  PMID: 23829495
Sablefish; Black cod; Microsatellite; SNP; Linkage map; Conserved synteny; Threespine stickleback; Sex-specific sequences; Gonadal soma-derived factor
3.  Regulation and expression of sexual differentiation factors in embryonic and extragonadal tissues of Atlantic salmon 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:31.
The products of cyp19, dax, foxl2, mis, sf1 and sox9 have each been associated with sex-determining processes among vertebrates. We provide evidence for expression of these regulators very early in salmonid development and in tissues outside of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal/gonadal (HPAG) axis. Although the function of these factors in sexual differentiation have been defined, their roles in early development before sexual fate decisions and in tissues beyond the brain or gonad are essentially unknown.
Bacterial artificial chromosomes containing salmon dax1 and dax2, foxl2b and mis were isolated and the regulatory regions that control their expression were characterized. Transposon integrations are implicated in the shaping of the dax and foxl2 loci. Splice variants for cyp19b1 and mis in both embryonic and adult tissues were detected and characterized. We found that cyp19b1 transcripts are generated that contain 5'-untranslated regions of different lengths due to cryptic splicing of the 3'-end of intron 1. We also demonstrate that salmon mis transcripts can encode prodomain products that present different C-termini and terminate before translation of the MIS hormone. Regulatory differences in the expression of two distinct aromatases cyp19a and cyp19b1 are exerted, despite transcription of their transactivators (ie; dax1, foxl2, sf1) occurring much earlier during embryonic development.
We report the embryonic and extragonadal expression of dax, foxl2, mis and other differentiation factors that indicate that they have functions that are more general and not restricted to steroidogenesis and gonadogenesis. Spliced cyp19b1 and mis transcripts are generated that may provide regulatory controls for tissue- or development-specific activities. Selection of cyp19b1 transcripts may be regulated by DAX-1, FOXL2 and SF-1 complexes that bind motifs in intron 1, or by signals within exon 2 that recruit splicing factors, or both. The potential translation of proteins bearing only the N-terminal MIS prodomain may modulate the functions of other TGF β family members in different tissues. The expression patterns of dax1 early in salmon embryogenesis implicate its role as a lineage determination factor. Other roles for these factors during embryogenesis and outside the HPAG axis are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3034696  PMID: 21232142
4.  Genomic organization and evolution of the Atlantic salmon hemoglobin repertoire 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:539.
The genomes of salmonids are considered pseudo-tetraploid undergoing reversion to a stable diploid state. Given the genome duplication and extensive biological data available for salmonids, they are excellent model organisms for studying comparative genomics, evolutionary processes, fates of duplicated genes and the genetic and physiological processes associated with complex behavioral phenotypes. The evolution of the tetrapod hemoglobin genes is well studied; however, little is known about the genomic organization and evolution of teleost hemoglobin genes, particularly those of salmonids. The Atlantic salmon serves as a representative salmonid species for genomics studies. Given the well documented role of hemoglobin in adaptation to varied environmental conditions as well as its use as a model protein for evolutionary analyses, an understanding of the genomic structure and organization of the Atlantic salmon α and β hemoglobin genes is of great interest.
We identified four bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) comprising two hemoglobin gene clusters spanning the entire α and β hemoglobin gene repertoire of the Atlantic salmon genome. Their chromosomal locations were established using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis and linkage mapping, demonstrating that the two clusters are located on separate chromosomes. The BACs were sequenced and assembled into scaffolds, which were annotated for putatively functional and pseudogenized hemoglobin-like genes. This revealed that the tail-to-tail organization and alternating pattern of the α and β hemoglobin genes are well conserved in both clusters, as well as that the Atlantic salmon genome houses substantially more hemoglobin genes, including non-Bohr β globin genes, than the genomes of other teleosts that have been sequenced.
We suggest that the most parsimonious evolutionary path leading to the present organization of the Atlantic salmon hemoglobin genes involves the loss of a single hemoglobin gene cluster after the whole genome duplication (WGD) at the base of the teleost radiation but prior to the salmonid-specific WGD, which then produced the duplicated copies seen today. We also propose that the relatively high number of hemoglobin genes as well as the presence of non-Bohr β hemoglobin genes may be due to the dynamic life history of salmon and the diverse environmental conditions that the species encounters.
Data deposition: BACs S0155C07 and S0079J05 (fps135): GenBank GQ898924; BACs S0055H05 and S0014B03 (fps1046): GenBank GQ898925
PMCID: PMC3091688  PMID: 20923558
5.  Evolution of duplicated IgH loci in Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:486.
The Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) locus possesses two parallel IgH isoloci (IGH-A and IGH-B), that are related to the genomic duplication event in the family Salmonidae. These duplicated IgH loci in Atlantic salmon provide a unique opportunity to examine the mechanisms of genome diversity and genome evolution of the IgH loci in vertebrates. In this study, we defined the structure of these loci in Atlantic salmon, and sequenced 24 bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones that were assembled into the IGH-A (1.1 Mb) and IGH-B (0.9 Mb) loci. In addition, over 7,000 cDNA clones from the IgH variable (VH) region have been sequenced and analyzed.
The present study shows that the genomic organization of the duplicated IgH loci in Atlantic salmon differs from that in other teleosts and other vertebrates. The loci possess multiple Cτ genes upstream of the Cμ region, with three of the Cτ genes being functional. Moreover, the duplicated loci possess over 300 VH segments which could be classified into 18 families. This is the largest number of VH families currently defined in any vertebrate. There were significant structural differences between the two loci, indicating that both IGH-A and -B loci have evolved independently in the short time after the recent genome duplication approximately 60 mya.
Our results indicate that the duplication of the IgH loci in Atlantic salmon significantly contributes to the increased diversity of the antibody repertoire, as compared with the single IgH locus in other vertebrates.
PMCID: PMC2996982  PMID: 20813058
6.  High gene expression of inflammatory markers and IL-17A correlates with severity of injection site reactions of Atlantic salmon vaccinated with oil-adjuvanted vaccines 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:336.
Two decades after the introduction of oil-based vaccines in the control of bacterial and viral diseases in farmed salmonids, the mechanisms of induced side effects manifested as intra-abdominal granulomas remain unresolved. Side effects have been associated with generation of auto-antibodies and autoimmunity but the underlying profile of inflammatory and immune response has not been characterized. This study was undertaken with the aim to elucidate the inflammatory and immune mechanisms of granuloma formation at gene expression level associated with high and low side effect (granuloma) indices.
Groups of Atlantic salmon parr were injected intraperitoneally with oil-adjuvanted vaccines containing either high or low concentrations of Aeromonas salmonicida or Moritella viscosa antigens in order to induce polarized (severe and mild) granulomatous reactions. The established granulomatous reactions were confirmed by gross and histological methods at 3 months post vaccination when responses were known to have matured. The corresponding gene expression patterns in the head kidneys were profiled using salmonid cDNA microarrays followed by validation by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). qPCR was also used to examine the expression of additional genes known to be important in the adaptive immune response.
Granulomatous lesions were observed in all vaccinated fish. The presence of severe granulomas was associated with a profile of up-regulation of innate immunity-related genes such as complement factors C1q and C6, mannose binding protein, lysozyme C, C-type lectin receptor, CD209, Cathepsin D, CD63, LECT-2, CC chemokine and metallothionein. In addition, TGF-β (p = 0.001), IL-17A (p = 0.007) and its receptor (IL-17AR) (p = 0.009) representing TH17 were significantly up-regulated in the group with severe granulomas as were arginase and IgM. None of the genes directly reflective of TH1 T cell lineage (IFN-γ, CD4) or TH2 (GATA-3) responses were differentially expressed.
Granulomatous reactions following vaccination with oil-based vaccines in Atlantic salmon have the profile of strong expression of genes related to innate immune responses. The expression of TGF-β, IL-17A and its receptor suggests an involvement of TH17 T cell lineage and is in conformity with strong infiltration of neutrophils and macrophages into inflamed areas. Arginase upregulation shows that macrophages in these reactions are alternatively activated, indicating also a TH2-profile. To what extent the expression of IL-17A and its receptor reflects an autoimmune vaccine-based reaction remains elusive but would be in conformity with previous observations of autoimmune reactions in salmon when vaccinated with oil-based vaccines.
PMCID: PMC2996971  PMID: 20507624
7.  Salmo salar and Esox lucius full-length cDNA sequences reveal changes in evolutionary pressures on a post-tetraploidization genome 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:279.
Salmonids are one of the most intensely studied fish, in part due to their economic and environmental importance, and in part due to a recent whole genome duplication in the common ancestor of salmonids. This duplication greatly impacts species diversification, functional specialization, and adaptation. Extensive new genomic resources have recently become available for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), but documentation of allelic versus duplicate reference genes remains a major uncertainty in the complete characterization of its genome and its evolution.
From existing expressed sequence tag (EST) resources and three new full-length cDNA libraries, 9,057 reference quality full-length gene insert clones were identified for Atlantic salmon. A further 1,365 reference full-length clones were annotated from 29,221 northern pike (Esox lucius) ESTs. Pairwise dN/dS comparisons within each of 408 sets of duplicated salmon genes using northern pike as a diploid out-group show asymmetric relaxation of selection on salmon duplicates.
9,057 full-length reference genes were characterized in S. salar and can be used to identify alleles and gene family members. Comparisons of duplicated genes show that while purifying selection is the predominant force acting on both duplicates, consistent with retention of functionality in both copies, some relaxation of pressure on gene duplicates can be identified. In addition, there is evidence that evolution has acted asymmetrically on paralogs, allowing one of the pair to diverge at a faster rate.
PMCID: PMC2886063  PMID: 20433749
8.  Comprehensive analysis of MHC class I genes from the U-, S-, and Z-lineages in Atlantic salmon 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:154.
We have previously sequenced more than 500 kb of the duplicated MHC class I regions in Atlantic salmon. In the IA region we identified the loci for the MHC class I gene Sasa-UBA in addition to a soluble MHC class I molecule, Sasa-ULA. A pseudolocus for Sasa-UCA was identified in the nonclassical IB region. Both regions contained genes for antigen presentation, as wells as orthologues to other genes residing in the human MHC region.
The genomic localisation of two MHC class I lineages (Z and S) has been resolved. 7 BACs were sequenced using a combination of standard Sanger and 454 sequencing. The new sequence data extended the IA region with 150 kb identifying the location of one Z-lineage locus, ZAA. The IB region was extended with 350 kb including three new Z-lineage loci, ZBA, ZCA and ZDA in addition to a UGA locus. An allelic version of the IB region contained a functional UDA locus in addition to the UCA pseudolocus. Additionally a BAC harbouring two MHC class I genes (UHA) was placed on linkage group 14, while a BAC containing the S-lineage locus SAA (previously known as UAA) was placed on LG10. Gene expression studies showed limited expression range for all class I genes with exception of UBA being dominantly expressed in gut, spleen and gills, and ZAA with high expression in blood.
Here we describe the genomic organization of MHC class I loci from the U-, Z-, and S-lineages in Atlantic salmon. Nine of the described class I genes are located in the extension of the duplicated IA and IB regions, while three class I genes are found on two separate linkage groups. The gene organization of the two regions indicates that the IB region is evolving at a different pace than the IA region. Expression profiling, polymorphic content, peptide binding properties and phylogenetic relationship show that Atlantic salmon has only one MHC class Ia gene (UBA), in addition to a multitude of nonclassical MHC class I genes from the U-, S- and Z-lineages.
PMCID: PMC2846915  PMID: 20205726
9.  Distribution of ancestral proto-Actinopterygian chromosome arms within the genomes of 4R-derivative salmonid fishes (Rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon) 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:557.
Comparative genomic studies suggest that the modern day assemblage of ray-finned fishes have descended from an ancestral grouping of fishes that possessed 12–13 linkage groups. All jawed vertebrates are postulated to have experienced two whole genome duplications (WGD) in their ancestry (2R duplication). Salmonids have experienced one additional WGD (4R duplication event) compared to most extant teleosts which underwent a further 3R WGD compared to other vertebrates. We describe the organization of the 4R chromosomal segments of the proto-ray-finned fish karyotype in Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout based upon their comparative syntenies with two model species of 3R ray-finned fishes.
Evidence is presented for the retention of large whole-arm affinities between the ancestral linkage groups of the ray-finned fishes, and the 50 homeologous chromosomal segments in Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout. In the comparisons between the two salmonid species, there is also evidence for the retention of large whole-arm homeologous affinities that are associated with the retention of duplicated markers. Five of the 7 pairs of chromosomal arm regions expressing the highest level of duplicate gene expression in rainbow trout share homologous synteny to the 5 pairs of homeologs with the greatest duplicate gene expression in Atlantic salmon. These regions are derived from proto-Actinopterygian linkage groups B, C, E, J and K.
Two chromosome arms in Danio rerio and Oryzias latipes (descendants of the 3R duplication) can, in most instances be related to at least 4 whole or partial chromosomal arms in the salmonid species. Multiple arm assignments in the two salmonid species do not clearly support a 13 proto-linkage group model, and suggest that a 12 proto-linkage group arrangement (i.e., a separate single chromosome duplication and ancestral fusion/fissions/recombination within the putative G/H/I groupings) may have occurred in the more basal soft-rayed fishes. We also found evidence supporting the model that ancestral linkage group M underwent a single chromosome duplication following the 3R duplication. In the salmonids, the M ancestral linkage groups are localized to 5 whole arm, and 3 partial arm regions (i.e., 6 whole arm regions expected). Thus, 3 distinct ancestral linkage groups are postulated to have existed in the G/H and M lineage chromosomes in the ancestor of the salmonids.
PMCID: PMC2632648  PMID: 19032764
10.  A salmonid EST genomic study: genes, duplications, phylogeny and microarrays 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:545.
Salmonids are of interest because of their relatively recent genome duplication, and their extensive use in wild fisheries and aquaculture. A comprehensive gene list and a comparison of genes in some of the different species provide valuable genomic information for one of the most widely studied groups of fish.
298,304 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from Atlantic salmon (69% of the total), 11,664 chinook, 10,813 sockeye, 10,051 brook trout, 10,975 grayling, 8,630 lake whitefish, and 3,624 northern pike ESTs were obtained in this study and have been deposited into the public databases. Contigs were built and putative full-length Atlantic salmon clones have been identified. A database containing ESTs, assemblies, consensus sequences, open reading frames, gene predictions and putative annotation is available. The overall similarity between Atlantic salmon ESTs and those of rainbow trout, chinook, sockeye, brook trout, grayling, lake whitefish, northern pike and rainbow smelt is 93.4, 94.2, 94.6, 94.4, 92.5, 91.7, 89.6, and 86.2% respectively. An analysis of 78 transcript sets show Salmo as a sister group to Oncorhynchus and Salvelinus within Salmoninae, and Thymallinae as a sister group to Salmoninae and Coregoninae within Salmonidae. Extensive gene duplication is consistent with a genome duplication in the common ancestor of salmonids. Using all of the available EST data, a new expanded salmonid cDNA microarray of 32,000 features was created. Cross-species hybridizations to this cDNA microarray indicate that this resource will be useful for studies of all 68 salmonid species.
An extensive collection and analysis of salmonid RNA putative transcripts indicate that Pacific salmon, Atlantic salmon and charr are 94–96% similar while the more distant whitefish, grayling, pike and smelt are 93, 92, 89 and 86% similar to salmon. The salmonid transcriptome reveals a complex history of gene duplication that is consistent with an ancestral salmonid genome duplication hypothesis. Genome resources, including a new 32 K microarray, provide valuable new tools to study salmonids.
PMCID: PMC2628678  PMID: 19014685
11.  Isolation, characterization and comparison of Atlantic and Chinook salmon growth hormone 1 and 2 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:522.
Growth hormone (GH) is an important regulator of skeletal growth, as well as other adapted processes in salmonids. The GH gene (gh) in salmonids is represented by duplicated, non-allelic isoforms designated as gh1 and gh2. We have isolated and characterized gh-containing bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) of both Atlantic and Chinook salmon (Salmo salar and Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in order to further elucidate our understanding of the conservation and regulation of these loci.
BACs containing gh1 and gh2 from both Atlantic and Chinook salmon were assembled, annotated, and compared to each other in their coding, intronic, regulatory, and flanking regions. These BACs also contain the genes for skeletal muscle sodium channel oriented in the same direction. The sequences of the genes for interferon alpha-1, myosin alkali light chain and microtubule associated protein Tau were also identified, and found in opposite orientations relative to gh1 and gh2. Viability of each of these genes was examined by PCR. We show that transposon insertions have occurred differently in the promoters of gh, within and between each species. Other differences within the promoters and intronic and 3'-flanking regions of the four gh genes provide evidence that they have distinct regulatory modes and possibly act to function differently and/or during different times of salmonid development.
A core proximal promoter for transcription of both gh1 and gh2 is conserved between the two species of salmon. Nevertheless, transposon integration and regulatory element differences do exist between the promoters of gh1 and gh2. Additionally, organization of transposon families into the BACs containing gh1 and for the BACs containing gh2, are very similar within orthologous regions, but much less clear conservation is apparent in comparisons between the gh1- and gh2-containing paralogous BACs for the two fish species. This is consistent with the hypothesis that a burst of transposition activity occurred during the speciation events which led to Atlantic and Pacific salmon. The Chinook and other Oncorhynchus GH1s are strikingly different in comparison to the other GHs and this change is not apparent in the surrounding non-coding sequences.
PMCID: PMC2584663  PMID: 18980692
12.  Assessing the feasibility of GS FLX Pyrosequencing for sequencing the Atlantic salmon genome 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:404.
With a whole genome duplication event and wealth of biological data, salmonids are excellent model organisms for studying evolutionary processes, fates of duplicated genes and genetic and physiological processes associated with complex behavioral phenotypes. It is surprising therefore, that no salmonid genome has been sequenced. Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is a good representative salmonid for sequencing given its importance in aquaculture and the genomic resources available. However, the size and complexity of the genome combined with the lack of a sequenced reference genome from a closely related fish makes assembly challenging. Given the cost and time limitations of Sanger sequencing as well as recent improvements to next generation sequencing technologies, we examined the feasibility of using the Genome Sequencer (GS) FLX pyrosequencing system to obtain the sequence of a salmonid genome. Eight pooled BACs belonging to a minimum tiling path covering ~1 Mb of the Atlantic salmon genome were sequenced by GS FLX shotgun and Long Paired End sequencing and compared with a ninth BAC sequenced by Sanger sequencing of a shotgun library.
An initial assembly using only GS FLX shotgun sequences (average read length 248.5 bp) with ~30× coverage allowed gene identification, but was incomplete even when 126 Sanger-generated BAC-end sequences (~0.09× coverage) were incorporated. The addition of paired end sequencing reads (additional ~26× coverage) produced a final assembly comprising 175 contigs assembled into four scaffolds with 171 gaps. Sanger sequencing of the ninth BAC (~10.5× coverage) produced nine contigs and two scaffolds. The number of scaffolds produced by the GS FLX assembly was comparable to Sanger-generated sequencing; however, the number of gaps was much higher in the GS FLX assembly.
These results represent the first use of GS FLX paired end reads for de novo sequence assembly. Our data demonstrated that this improved the GS FLX assemblies; however, with respect to de novo sequencing of complex genomes, the GS FLX technology is limited to gene mining and establishing a set of ordered sequence contigs. Currently, for a salmonid reference sequence, it appears that a substantial portion of sequencing should be done using Sanger technology.
PMCID: PMC2532694  PMID: 18755037
13.  A linkage map of the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) based on EST-derived SNP markers 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:223.
The Atlantic salmon is a species of commercial and ecological significance. Like other salmonids, the species displays residual tetrasomy and a large difference in recombination rate between sexes. Linkage maps with full genome coverage, containing both type I and type II markers, are needed for progress in genomics. Furthermore, it is important to estimate levels of linkage disequilibrium (LD) in the species. In this study, we developed several hundred single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers for the Atlantic salmon, and constructed male and female linkage maps containing SNP and microsatellite markers. We also investigated further the distribution of male and female recombination events across the genome, and estimated levels of LD between pairs of markers.
The male map had 29 linkage groups and was 390 cM long. The female map had 30 linkage groups as was 1983 cM long. In total, the maps contained 138 microsatellite markers and 304 SNPs located within genes, most of which were successfully annotated. The ratio of male to female recombination events was either close to zero or very large, indicating that there is little overlap between regions in which male and female crossovers occur. The female map is likely to have close to full genome coverage, while the majority of male linkage groups probably lack markers in telomeric regions where male recombination events occur. Levels of r2 increased with decreasing inter-marker distance in a bimodal fashion; increasing slowly from ~60 cM, and more rapidly more from ~12 cM. Long-ranging LD may be consequence of recent admixture in the population, the population being a 'synthetic' breeding population with contributions from several distinct rivers. Levels of r2 dropped to half its maximum value (above baseline) within 15 cM, and were higher than 0.2 above baseline for unlinked markers ('useful LD') at inter-marker distances less than 5 cM.
The linkage map presented here is an important resource for genetic, comparative, and physical mapping of the Atlantic salmon. The female map is likely to have a map coverage that is not far from complete, whereas the male map length is likely to be significantly shorter than the true map, due to suboptimal marker coverage in the apparently small physical regions where male crossovers occur. 'Useful LD' was found at inter-marker distances less than 5 cM.
PMCID: PMC2405805  PMID: 18482444
14.  Bursts and horizontal evolution of DNA transposons in the speciation of pseudotetraploid salmonids 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:422.
Several genome duplications have occurred in the evolutionary history of teleost fish. In returning to a stable diploid state, the polyploid genome reorganized, and large portions are lost, while the fish lines evolved to numerous species. Large scale transposon movement has been postulated to play an important role in the genome reorganization process. We analyzed the DNA sequence of several large loci in Salmo salar and other species for the presence of DNA transposon families.
We have identified bursts of activity of 14 families of DNA transposons (12 Tc1-like and 2 piggyBac-like families, including 11 novel ones) in genome sequences of Salmo salar. Several of these families have similar sequences in a number of closely and distantly related fish, lamprey, and frog species as well as in the parasite Schistosoma japonicum. Analysis of sequence similarities between copies within the families of these bursts demonstrates several waves of transposition activities coinciding with salmonid species divergence. Tc1-like families show a master gene-like copying process, illustrated by extensive but short burst of copying activity, while the piggyBac-like families show a more random copying pattern. Recent families may include copies with an open reading frame for an active transposase enzyme.
We have identified defined bursts of transposon activity that make use of master-slave and random mechanisms. The bursts occur well after hypothesized polyploidy events and coincide with speciation events. Parasite-mediated lateral transfer of transposons are implicated.
PMCID: PMC2198921  PMID: 18021408
15.  Genomic organization of duplicated major histocompatibility complex class I regions in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:251.
We have previously identified associations between major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and resistance towards bacterial and viral pathogens in Atlantic salmon. To evaluate if only MHC or also closely linked genes contributed to the observed resistance we ventured into sequencing of the duplicated MHC class I regions of Atlantic salmon.
Nine BACs covering more than 500 kb of the two duplicated MHC class I regions of Atlantic salmon were sequenced and the gene organizations characterized. Both regions contained the proteasome components PSMB8, PSMB9, PSMB9-like and PSMB10 in addition to the transporter for antigen processing TAP2, as well as genes for KIFC1, ZBTB22, DAXX, TAPBP, BRD2, COL11A2, RXRB and SLC39A7. The IA region contained the recently reported MHC class I Sasa-ULA locus residing approximately 50 kb upstream of the major Sasa-UBA locus. The duplicated class IB region contained an MHC class I locus resembling the rainbow trout UCA locus, but although transcribed it was a pseudogene. No other MHC class I-like genes were detected in the two duplicated regions. Two allelic BACs spanning the UBA locus had 99.2% identity over 125 kb, while the IA region showed 82.5% identity over 136 kb to the IB region. The Atlantic salmon IB region had an insert of 220 kb in comparison to the IA region containing three chitin synthase genes.
We have characterized the gene organization of more than 500 kb of the two duplicated MHC class I regions in Atlantic salmon. Although Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout are closely related, the gene organization of their IB region has undergone extensive gene rearrangements. The Atlantic salmon has only one class I UCA pseudogene in the IB region while trout contains the four MHC UCA, UDA, UEA and UFA class I loci. The large differences in gene content and most likely function of the salmon and trout class IB region clearly argues that sequencing of salmon will not necessarily provide information relevant for trout and vice versa.
PMCID: PMC1971071  PMID: 17651474
16.  Expression and genomic organization of zonadhesin-like genes in three species of fish give insight into the evolutionary history of a mosaic protein 
BMC Genomics  2005;6:165.
The mosaic sperm protein zonadhesin (ZAN) has been characterized in mammals and is implicated in species-specific egg-sperm binding interactions. The genomic structure and testes-specific expression of zonadhesin is known for many mammalian species. All zonadhesin genes characterized to date consist of meprin A5 antigen receptor tyrosine phosphatase mu (MAM) domains, mucin tandem repeats, and von Willebrand (VWD) adhesion domains. Here we investigate the genomic structure and expression of zonadhesin-like genes in three species of fish.
The cDNA and corresponding genomic locus of a zonadhesin-like gene (zlg) in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) were sequenced. Zlg is similar in adhesion domain content to mammalian zonadhesin; however, the domain order is altered. Analysis of puffer fish (Takifugu rubripes) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) sequence data identified zonadhesin (zan) genes that share the same domain order, content, and a conserved syntenic relationship with mammalian zonadhesin. A zonadhesin-like gene in D. rerio was also identified. Unlike mammalian zonadhesin, D. rerio zan and S. salar zlg were expressed in the gut and not in the testes.
We characterized likely orthologs of zonadhesin in both T. rubripes and D. rerio and uncovered zonadhesin-like genes in S. salar and D. rerio. Each of these genes contains MAM, mucin, and VWD domains. While these domains are associated with several proteins that show prominent gut expression, their combination is unique to zonadhesin and zonadhesin-like genes in vertebrates. The expression patterns of fish zonadhesin and zonadhesin-like genes suggest that the reproductive role of zonadhesin evolved later in the mammalian lineage.
PMCID: PMC1325057  PMID: 16303057
17.  Fish and chips: Various methodologies demonstrate utility of a 16,006-gene salmonid microarray 
BMC Genomics  2005;6:126.
We have developed and fabricated a salmonid microarray containing cDNAs representing 16,006 genes. The genes spotted on the array have been stringently selected from Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout expressed sequence tag (EST) databases. The EST databases presently contain over 300,000 sequences from over 175 salmonid cDNA libraries derived from a wide variety of tissues and different developmental stages. In order to evaluate the utility of the microarray, a number of hybridization techniques and screening methods have been developed and tested.
We have analyzed and evaluated the utility of a microarray containing 16,006 (16K) salmonid cDNAs in a variety of potential experimental settings. We quantified the amount of transcriptome binding that occurred in cross-species, organ complexity and intraspecific variation hybridization studies. We also developed a methodology to rapidly identify and confirm the contents of a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library containing Atlantic salmon genomic DNA.
We validate and demonstrate the usefulness of the 16K microarray over a wide range of teleosts, even for transcriptome targets from species distantly related to salmonids. We show the potential of the use of the microarray in a variety of experimental settings through hybridization studies that examine the binding of targets derived from different organs and tissues. Intraspecific variation in transcriptome expression is evaluated and discussed. Finally, BAC hybridizations are demonstrated as a rapid and accurate means to identify gene content.
PMCID: PMC1239916  PMID: 16164747
18.  A highly redundant BAC library of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar): an important tool for salmon projects 
BMC Genomics  2005;6:50.
As farming of Atlantic salmon is growing as an aquaculture enterprise, the need to identify the genomic mechanisms for specific traits is becoming more important in breeding and management of the animal. Traits of importance might be related to growth, disease resistance, food conversion efficiency, color or taste. To identify genomic regions responsible for specific traits, genomic large insert libraries have previously proven to be of crucial importance. These large insert libraries can be screened using gene or genetic markers in order to identify and map regions of interest. Furthermore, large-scale mapping can utilize highly redundant libraries in genome projects, and hence provide valuable data on the genome structure.
Here we report the construction and characterization of a highly redundant bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library constructed from a Norwegian aquaculture strain male of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). The library consists of a total number of 305 557 clones, in which approximately 299 000 are recombinants. The average insert size of the library is 188 kbp, representing 18-fold genome coverage. High-density filters each consisting of 18 432 clones spotted in duplicates have been produced for hybridization screening, and are publicly available [1]. To characterize the library, 15 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) derived overgos and 12 oligo sequences derived from microsatellite markers were used in hybridization screening of the complete BAC library. Secondary hybridizations with individual probes were performed for the clones detected. The BACs positive for the EST probes were fingerprinted and mapped into contigs, yielding an average of 3 contigs for each probe. Clones identified using genomic probes were PCR verified using microsatellite specific primers.
Identification of genes and genomic regions of interest is greatly aided by the availability of the CHORI-214 Atlantic salmon BAC library. We have demonstrated the library's ability to identify specific genes and genetic markers using hybridization, PCR and fingerprinting experiments. In addition, multiple fingerprinting contigs indicated a pseudo-tetraploidity of the Atlantic salmon genome. The highly redundant CHORI-214 BAC library is expected to be an important resource for mapping and sequencing of the Atlantic salmon genome.
PMCID: PMC1082906  PMID: 15807896
19.  Analysis of the conservation of synteny between Fugu and human chromosome 12 
BMC Genomics  2003;4:30.
The pufferfish Fugu rubripes (Fugu) with its compact genome is increasingly recognized as an important vertebrate model for comparative genomic studies. In particular, large regions of conserved synteny between human and Fugu genomes indicate its utility to identify disease-causing genes. The human chromosome 12p12 is frequently deleted in various hematological malignancies and solid tumors, but the actual tumor suppressor gene remains unidentified.
We investigated approximately 200 kb of the genomic region surrounding the ETV6 locus in Fugu (fETV6) in order to find conserved functional features, such as genes or regulatory regions, that could give insight into the nature of the genes targeted by deletions in human cancer cells. Seven genes were identified near the fETV6 locus. We found that the synteny with human chromosome 12 was conserved, but extensive genomic rearrangements occurred between the Fugu and human ETV6 loci.
This comparative analysis led to the identification of previously uncharacterized genes in the human genome and some potentially important regulatory sequences as well. This is a good indication that the analysis of the compact Fugu genome will be valuable to identify functional features that have been conserved throughout the evolution of vertebrates.
PMCID: PMC179898  PMID: 12877756

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