New Salmon "Clan" System Gives Up Its Secrets –

New Salmon “Clan” System Gives Up Its Secrets Fish Farming Today Published:  09 June, 2003

THE lineage of salmon can now be traced back in time and scientists have so far identified a number of salmon ‘clans’.

Scottish-based Fisheries Research Services (FRS) has been researching the ancestry of the Atlantic Salmon in order to discover its importance in the behaviour of the salmon, for example why salmon from one river tend to return to the river in which they were born in the spring rather than the summer and why fish transplanted from the river of their birth into another river, do not survive as well.

The research analyses a small piece of DNA containing genes important to the production of energy in cells, DNA which is passed on from mother to offspring in the egg. Information from the male is not passed on, so it is the maternal line which is followed,

“Although there is still a lot of work to do, the research has so far indicated several salmon ‘clans’. Atlantic salmon are initially divided into two major clans – the old world clan and the new world (North America) clan. These clans were separated from each other about 600,000 years ago at the start of one of the longest and coldest ice ages the earth has experienced,” says Dr Eric Verspoor, Group Leader of Fish Genetics at the FRS Freshwater Laboratory in Pitlochry.