GenoAvel – Genomic selection for improved Arctic charr production in Sweden

Last changed: 31 January 2024
A fertilised trout egg. Photo.

Swedish Arctic charr industry nowadays faces several challenges, like disease outbreaks, that threaten its sustainability. Modern breeding practices can offer solutions. Genomic selection is a breakthrough technology that allows for genetically superior animals to be identified based on their DNA profile. The project GenoAvel aims to implement genomic selection in Arctic charr by developing a chip containing information about several thousands of genetic markers covering the animals’ entire genome. GenoAvel is funded by the Swedish Board of Agriculture.

Genetic markers like single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), typically found in the genome of any living organism in the magnitude of millions, can inform about the unique genetic profile of each individual and therefore guide the selection process. In selective breeding, the above is performed through a technology known as genomic selection.

The DNA information required by genomic selection is usually obtained through SNP chips. SNP chips typically contain tens to hundreds of thousands of individual assays targeted to pre-defined SNPs, which are simultaneously analysed on DNA samples from the studied animals. Nowadays, genomic selection and SNP chips are used in all major commercial aquaculture breeding programs, as the preferred method to accurately infer DNA profiles.

Currently, no SNP chip tailored for Swedish or even for Nordic Arctic charr is available. Therefore harnessing the full potential of modern selective breeding practices remains problematic. In the GenoAvel project, we will:

  • Develop a SNP chip tailored for Swedish Arctic charr that will allow the application of current state-of-the-art selective breeding practices.
  • Implement the chip in production aiming to improve resistance to bacterial kidney disease (BKD).

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

Partners involved: Vattenbrukscentrum Norr AB.


The Swedish Board of Agriculture/Jordbruksverket

Co-funded by the European Union



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