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New virus may pose risk to wild salmon
Date:7/9/2010

called Frequency Analysis of Sequence Data (FASD), pioneered by Raul Rabadan of Columbia's Department of Biomedical Informatics. Investigators in Norway and the U.S. then looked for viral sequences in heart and kidney samples from 29 salmon representing three different HSMI outbreaks and 10 samples from healthy farmed fish. Twenty-eight of the 29 (96.5%) known HSMI samples and none of the 10 healthy salmon samples were positive. The investigators also tested 66 samples obtained from wild salmon living in nine coastal rivers in Norway. The virus was detected in sixteen of these samples (24.2%), though generally in lower concentrations than found in ailing farmed fish.

"The speed of this process, and the enthusiasm on both sides of the Atlantic created a very fruitful collaboration," says Espen Rimstad, a professor at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science in Oslo. "Using the expertise of our colleagues at Columbia in high throughput sequencing and advanced bioinformatics, we had within a few weeks the whole genome sequence of a hitherto unknown virus."

Additional research will be needed to confirm that the reovirus is the cause of HSMI. Meanwhile work has already begun in Norway to develop a vaccine to protect farmed Atlantic salmon.


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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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