Gyrodactylus salaris, an ectoparasitic flatworm (Platyhelmininthes: Monogenea) of the Atlantic salmon, is recognised as a serious problem in all European countries with a Baltic or North Atlantic coastline. The possibility for effective control measures against G. salaris rests on reliable and practical methods of pathogen diagnosis but no strain-specific markers are available to date. Here we propose the full characterization of the mitochondrial genome of G.
salaris and the closely related Macrogyrodactylus polypterus. Comparing both genomes will provide valuable information on the range of variation within the genus, allowing the selection of loci useful at the phylogenetic and population genetic level. Comparing G. salaris populations throughout the distribution range, will allow the design of diagnostic markers based on multiple SNPs. Subsequent optimisation of the SSCP reaction, in order to resolve multiple SNP sites within short mitochondrial fragments will ultimately allow rapid and reliable screening, through ABI Prism SNaPshot Multiplex genotyping. Whilst not the primary aims of the proposal, the results will serve as a basis for phylogenetics, mitogenomics and mitochondrial drug targeting. This proposal underpins an applied problem and therefore provides a real link between a modern biological(genomic) approach and an increasingly important research area worldwide, namely animal health and environmental monitoring. The proposal is founded in the fields of genomic, biotechnology as applied to(animal) health and sustainable development, providing the applicant a first rate training in a wide variety of molecular techniques. The applicant is a well-trained evolutionary biologist with expertise in morphology, enhances and greatly develops ine skills or we applicant-allowing ner to pursue research in modern molecular ecology, parasitology and molecular systematics.
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