Edinburgh Oceans

Aquaculture Genetics & Health

The University of Edinburgh has world-leading expertise in aquaculture genetics and health.

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production sector globally, with production of finfish and shellfish worldwide now over 170 million tons per year. Many of these species are grown in marine or coastal areas. As capture fisheries are placing pressures on the sustainability of wild populations for many species, the continued growth of aquaculture is increasingly important in meeting the nutritional requirements of the rapidly growing human population. However, the expansion of aquaculture brings about complex biological, ecological and societal challenges. These include the threat of disease outbreaks, and negative impacts on marine habitats, which carry implications for human food security and ecosystem viability.


Aquaculture genetics and health at the Roslin Institute:


The Roslin Institute is based at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Sciences and has world-leading expertise in the genetics and health of finfish and shellfish.  The team’s research includes use of genetic and genomic technologies to understanding the genetic basis of production and health traits, such as disease resistance.  Current research includes:





Atlantic salmon farm in Tasmania
Atlantic salmon farm. Image credit: CSIRO.


Fostering strategic academic and industry partnerships:


Much of the team’s research is collaborative with several academic and aquaculture industry partners. Impact and knowledge exchange is achieved through collaboration with diverse organisations working in the aquaculture sector, including long-term partnerships. These include institute strategic partnerships with Hendrix Genetics and WorldFish, in addition to many other projects together with aquaculture companies. The team also work closely with government organisations such as Cefas and Marine Scotland, and a wealth of national and international academic partners.


Image of salmon eggs.
Salmon eggs. Image credit: Ross Houston.

Examples of major and multinational projects in which Roslin’s aquaculture team play a key role include:




On the horizon:


A new Centre for Aquaculture Genetics and Health is being developed at Easter Bush Campus to expand Edinburgh’s research, training, and translation activities in the field of aquaculture.