New paper improves knowledge of genetic resistance to bacterial disease in salmon

PhD student Carolina Moraleda Chiang celebrates her new article in BMC Genomics.


In March, BMC Genomics published a new research article entitled “Investigating mechanisms underlying genetic resistance to Salmon Rickettsial Syndrome (SRS) in Atlantic salmon using RNA sequencing”. PhD student Carolina Moraleda Chiang wrote this article alongside other team members including Group Leaders Diego Robledo and Ross Houston as well as Roslin Institute alumni Alejandro Gutierrez. The study was in collaboration with Dr Jose Yañez from the University of Chile, together with Benchmark Genetics Chile. Carolina writes about her findings and her experiences developing this article for release as follows:

“Salmon Rickettsial Syndrome, caused by Piscirickettsia salmonis, is one of the primary causes of morbidity and mortality in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) aquaculture. Improvement of host resistance using selective breeding or genome editing is a potential avenue to tackle SRS. The purpose of this research was to discover functional genes and pathways contributing to host genetic resistance to SRS using RNA sequencing data obtained from a large-scale SRS infection challenge. We identified several thousand genes as differentially expressed between controls and infected samples. To investigate the association between gene expression and resistance to SRS, we performed a network correlation analysis and observed enrichment of several KEGG pathways related to immune response in both tissues. This included cytoskeletal organisation and the inflammasome. We also identified several candidate genes from our data as putative functional candidates genes in mediating genetic resistance.

This graphic from BMC Genomics' article based on Carolina's work shows differential expression in infected and control samples.

“Investigating genes related to SRS resistance was a challenging experience as I am familiarized with this very harmful disease affecting Atlantic salmon in Chile. Being able to contribute by finding a potential avenue to improve animal health in aquaculture is a personal goal and a very satisfying challenge.”

This graphic from BMC Genomics' article based on Carolina's work shows correlation between gene expression and breeding values.

Carolina has worked with Atlantic salmon in prior projects, and research into Salmon Rickettsial Syndrome has been a major part of her studies at the Roslin Institute since she began her PhD in 2018. The BMC Genomics article represents a substantial collaborative undertaking by Carolina and her colleagues. She deserves a massive round of applause and the Roslin aquaculture team is enthusiastic about this superb achievement. Congratulations to Carolina!

The BMC Genomics article is accessible through this external link.

You can read more from Carolina via her page in the People section.