Course code AQX250

AQX250 Genomics to improve sustainability of aquaculture

Norsk emneinformasjon

Search for other courses here

Showing course contents for the educational year 2022 - 2023 .

Course responsible: Sigbjørn Lien
Teachers: Thomas Moen, Hanne Dvergedal, Nicola Jane Barson, Guro Katrine Sandvik, Gareth Frank Difford, Jørgen Ødegård, Matthew Peter Kent, Simen Rød Sandve, Øivind Andersen, Hans Magnus Gjøen
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: Faculty of Biosciences
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2022-2023
Last time: 2022H
Course contents:

Modern sequencing technologies make it possible to characterize the entire genetic blueprint (genome) of fish species quickly and relatively inexpensively. This gives us important knowledge on how genomes are organized, how they are regulated and, not least, how variation affects important traits such as fish health, parasite resistance, animal welfare, feed utilization and product quality traits.

In this course we will discuss how to use data and genomic knowledge to identify genes and variation in the genome affecting important sustainability traits in aquaculture. We will discuss how to use the knowledge in practical breeding where the goal is to tailor genetic material for different products while simultaneously ensuring genetic progress in other traits. The course will also explore how CRISPR technology can be used to introduce targeted edits in the genome to study gene functions and understand how genes affect traits. Possible future applications of the technology in precision breeding to create a more sustainable aquaculture will also be debated.

Other topics covered in the course are; a) how new robot- and camera technologies can contribute to increase genetic progress for traits, b) strategies for the production of sterile fish, c) negative effects of the aquaculture industry on wild salmon.

An important part of the course will be to identify, reflect on and discuss important societal and ethical issues related to the use of precision breeding and CRISPR in aquaculture.

In the last part of the course, students will use knowledge from lectures and literature in group work to address key sustainability challenges in Norwegian aquaculture. Examples of topics may be:

  • How to make salmon resistant to diseases and lice?
  • How to reduce mortality in production by making salmon more robust?
  • How to use genomics to develop sustainable aquaculture in new species?
  • How to make salmon an effective utilizer of plant-based feed?
  • How to maintain a healthy fatty acid profile in the salmon fillet with plant-based feed?
  • How to reduce the negative effects of fish farming on wild salmon?
Learning outcome:

After completing the course, students must have achieved the following learning outcomes defined in the form of knowledge, skills and general competence.


  • Can explain the use of genome technologies and how specific data types can be used in breeding programs to promote sustainable genetic progress for important traits in aquaculture.
  • Can assess differences, strengths and weaknesses with different strategies and technologies.
  • Can explain how genetic improvement of traits can be used to make the aquaculture industry more sustainable.
  • Can identify and reflect on important social and ethical issues related to the use of precision breeding and gene editing technology in aquaculture.


  • Students can work independently and in groups to acquire new knowledge.
  • Students can summarize the knowledge in written assignments and present these.
  • Students can assess industries need and readiness for genomic data and propose a theoretical strategy for the generation and use of data.

General competence

  • Through semester assignments and presentations, students will acquire collaboration and dissemination skills.
  • Students should be able to present and argue for their own views in academic discussions.
Learning activities:
Lecture, group work, self-study, project assignment and presentation in plenary.
Teaching support:
Teachers will be available via email, personal guidance and input in group work.
Lecture notes and selected articles. The syllabus can be found on the course's Canvas page.
BIO120, AQX120
Recommended prerequisites:



Mandatory activity:
Approved project assignment, including oral presentation. Attendance and active participation in the entire course and in the group work are prerequisites for getting the course approved.
Assessment of a written report that must be submitted no later than 3 weeks after the course. Mandatory presentation of the report. The assessments will be passed / failed.
Nominal workload:
125 hours
Entrance requirements:
Special requirements in Science
Reduction of credits:
2 credits overlap with AQB250 (AQB270)
The examiner will be involved in the planning, revision and approval of course plans, including topics for project assignments.
Examination details: Portfolio: Passed / Not Passed