EpiBreedCharr – Epigenetic powered breeding in Arctic charr

Last changed: 31 January 2024
Char swimming under the water surface. Photo.

The EpiBreedCharr project will assess the effect of epigenetics in aquaculture breeding schemes. As a case study of both practical and scientific interest, we will investigate the possibility of improving male fertility in Arctic charr using selective breeding practices powered by information derived from genome-wide methylation. EpiBreedCharr is funded by FORMAS.

Reproductive success in the case of farmed Arctic charr in Sweden is remarkably low, especially when compared to other farmed salmonids. Furthermore, the observed rise in water temperature due to the ongoing climate change can adversely impact the fertility of thermosensitive species like Arctic charr. Therefore the sustainability of the related fish farming industry and the long-term viability of wild populations across the Holarctic region are in jeopardy.

Current knowledge suggests that epigenetic factors like methylation marks can affect fertility in many species. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. A knowledge increase regarding the epigenetic mechanisms involved in male fertility of Arctic charr coupled with selective breeding practices can provide solutions.

The main objectives of the EpiBreedCharr project consist of the following:

  • Elucidate the methylation landscape in Arctic charr sperm.
  • Conduct an epigenome-wide scan to identify methylated regions associated with sperm quality traits.
  • Evaluate the effect of including epigenome-wide information in breeding schemes to improve male fertility.

Main applicant: Christos Palaiokostas, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics.

Partners involved: Vattenbrukscentrum Norr AB.





Start and end date: 2023-07-01 to 2026-06-30