Genomic studies of Atlantic cod can help the aquaculture industry by enabling the identification of genetic markers for commercially-desirable traits, and by assessing the genetic consequences of interbreeding between farmed and wild populations. However, although the Atlantic cod genome has been recently published (2011), the biological role of most of their genes is unknown. Knowing the biological role of genes is crucial for interpreting the results of large-scale genomic studies. For example, researchers may identify in an expression profiling study a list of genes involved in response to changes in water temperature. Lack of information about the biological function of most of those identified genes hinders follow-up experimentation and analysis, limiting the amount of information obtained from large-scale genomic studies.
Our research aims at improving the understanding of the biological function of Atlantic Cod genes. This research builds upon fish genomics infrastructure (such as cDNA libraries, EST databases, and cDNA microarrays) that is already in place in Canada and specifically in Newfoundland. Expected outcomes associated to this research are: increasing our knowledge of the biological role of Atlantic Cod genes; improving our understanding of evolutionary relationships between Atlantic Cod and other organisms; enhancing the interpretation of genomic studies in Atlantic Cod; and facilitating the identification of genetic markers useful in aquaculture genetics and stock breeding, as well as in the management of natural populations of Atlantic Cod.