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Publication prize for “knock-out” article on genetics

Anna Wargelius får publikasjonspris

Anna Wargelius mottar publikasjonsprisen 2016 fra forskningsdirektør Geir Huse.

Anna Wargelius received the Institute of Marine Research’s 2016 publication prize for an article on how mutations can be used to change the DNA sequence in salmon. Essentially, the technique involves “knocking out” specific genes to create a sterile farmed salmon.

The winner of the publication prize is selected by an external jury (professors Peter Haugan, Sigurd Stefansson and Jon Vidar Helvik at the University of Bergen), after three articles have been nominated in a qualifying round. The sought-after prize is awarded at an annual event held by the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen.

Challenging process using new technology

The winning article is entitled “Dnd knockout ablates germ cells and demonstrates germ cell independent sex differentiation in Atlantic salmon”, and the lead author is Anna Wargelius (complete list of authors in box on the right). It was published in the respected Nature publication Scientific Reports.

“The article sets out a specific example of how we can use a new technology – gene editing – to produce sterile farmed salmon. This may be an important step towards a solution to the issue of preserving biodiversity. This is highly challenging process from a technical point of view, involving genetic analysis, the injection of embryos and further molecular analysis of the phenotype at later stages.”

Leading the way internationally

“It is a challenge to use methods that are normally only used on model species, and the committee is extremely impressed by the methods established and the results achieved. Apart from producing sterile fish, this research also paves the way for further functional studies of genes in non-model species,” writes the jury, which concludes by noting that the research group is leading the way internationally in the use of gene editing in experimental studies on fish.