Skip to main content
Advertisement
Advertisement

Scientists taking feed to ‘another level’ with gene-control supplement

Chilean researchers are developing a feed supplement that can modulate gene expression in salmon.
Chilean researchers are developing a feed supplement that can modulate gene expression in salmon.

Researchers in Chile are developing a nutritional supplement for salmon that will cause them to express genes that strengthen their immune systems and help the fish combat challenges such as sea lice, infectious salmon anaemia and SRS.

Advertisement

The research, led by Dr René Manríquez of Austral University, uses epigenetic modulation, something that has never been used in fish, according to a report on DiariodeValdiva.cl.

Manríquez told the website that thanks to the Fondef project VIU16E0165 “Epigenetic modulators for aquaculture”, work is being done to create Epifood, a product with which researchers hope to revolutionise the aquaculture industry.

René Manríquez: Hoping to reach 'another level' with Epifood.
René Manríquez: Hoping to reach 'another level' with Epifood.

Natural elements

“We are developing a nutritional supplement that uses epigenetic modulation, which is a way to regulate the expression of the genome, but in this case using natural elements that are incorporated into the diet of fish,” said Manriquez.

According to DiariodeValdiva, epigenetic information involves reordering the expression of genes without altering the DNA sequence. “Currently, what is done is to feed the fish with functional diets, but very soon and with Epifood we hope to reach another level, which links the relationship of genes, nutrients and the use of biotechnological foods,” said Manríquez.

The supplement that the researchers developed has methylating effects: “This means that the expression of genes in cells can be stably altered while the cells divide, as compared to when they fight viruses and bacteria.”

Advertisement