DFO scientist develops genomic testing for infectious disease in fish

As part of the ongoing Strategic Salmon Health Initiative, DFO scientist Kristi Miller and her research team have developed a new diagnostic approach that uses the activity of the genes to detect early signs of infectious disease in fish.

Scientists currently rely on techniques that require microscopic examination of multiple tissue samples. These techniques can be limited in sensitivity, generally detecting disease once clinical signs have developed. Dr. Miller’s research, which has been published in the online journal Conservation Physiology, could provide a non-destructive method to identify early-stage disease development in fish, before mortality or outward signs of disease are present.

Dr. Miller’s work was inspired by the genomic diagnostic testing methods recently developed to differentiate human viral influenza from bacterial respiratory diseases.

Molecular indices of viral disease development in wild migrating salmon