Author(s): Garseth H, Ekrem T, Biering E
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Abstract The extent and effect of disease interaction and pathogen exchange between wild and farmed fish populations is an ongoing debate and an area of research that is difficult to explore. The objective of this study was to investigate pathogen transmission between farmed and wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) populations in Norway by means of molecular epidemiology. Piscine reovirus (PRV) was selected as the model organism as it is widely distributed in both farmed and wild Atlantic salmon in Norway, and because infection not necessarily will lead to mortality through development of disease. A matrix comprised of PRV protein coding sequences S1, S2 and S4 from wild, hatchery-reared and farmed Atlantic salmon in addition to one sea-trout (Salmo trutta L.) was examined. Phylogenetic analyses based on maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference indicate long distance transport of PRV and exchange of virus between populations. The results are discussed in the context of Atlantic salmon ecology and the structure of the Norwegian salmon industry. We conclude that the lack of a geographical pattern in the phylogenetic trees is caused by extensive exchange of PRV. In addition, the detailed topography of the trees indicates long distance transportation of PRV. Through its size, structure and infection status, the Atlantic salmon farming industry has the capacity to play a central role in both long distance transportation and transmission of pathogens. Despite extensive migration, wild salmon probably play a minor role as they are fewer in numbers, appear at lower densities and are less likely to be infected. An open question is the relationship between the PRV sequences found in marine fish and those originating from salmon.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development