AQUACULTURE research will be at the heart of a new collaboration between Hendrix Genetics and the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute.
Researchers will focus on driving innovations that lead to greater disease resistance in farmed animals, including salmon, and better selective breeding programmes.
Their goal is to reduce losses and improve welfare in the fish farming and livestock industries.
The agreement, announced yesterday, builds on existing collaborations in salmon disease genetics between the two organisations.
The Roslin Institute already works closely with the salmon breeding company Landcatch, a Hendrix Genetics company based in Ormsary in Argyll, Scotland.
This collaboration has yielded the discovery of a gene that makes salmon more resilient to the viral disease IPN. It has also led to the development of genetic tools that have improved selective breeding for resistance to sea lice.
Scientists at the Universities of Stirling and Glasgow, as well as the University of Edinburgh’s sequencing facility Edinburgh Genomics, were also part of the research team that led to these discoveries.
The strategic partnership between Hendrix Genetics and the Roslin Institute will strengthen and extend their relationship. It will allow them to explore precision breeding technology, not only in aquaculture, but also in pig, chicken and turkey breeding.
Dr Johan van Arendonk, chief innovation and technology officer at Hendrix Genetics, said: ‘This partnership with Roslin – a world leading research institute – offers a unique opportunity to improve our breeding programmes through applied research projects using the latest genomic technology.’
Professor Bruce Whitelaw, deputy director and head of the Division of Developmental Biology at Roslin, said: ‘We are excited about building on our long-term relationship with Landcatch through establishing this strategic partnership.
‘Working with Hendrix Genetics across a number of commercial species offers exciting opportunities for the science that Roslin pioneers.’
Dr Ross Houston, a group leader in aquaculture genetics at Roslin, said: ‘This is an exciting development which will allow us to build on past successes with Hendrix Genetics Aquaculture, and facilitate new projects to improve disease resistance in salmon and other species through selective breeding.’
Dr Alastair Hamilton (pictured), senior scientist at Hendrix Genetics, will split his time between the Roslin Institute and Hendrix Genetics as part of this partnership.
Earlier this month the Dutch owned Hendrix announced it would move its R&D aquaculture department from Stirling to Boxmeer in the Netherlands.
The company aims to expand both globally and in other species – salmonids and warmwater species – and appointed Dr Johan van Arendonk, former dean of Science sat Wageningen University, and now chief innovation and technology officer in Hendrix, head of the department.
‘This is a big change in the history of our R&D department, which has already proven itself as a global leader in aquaculture breeding technology development,’ Neil Manchester, managing director of the Aquaculture Business Unit, said when the changes were announced.