PCR: Rescuing the reputation of Canadian salmon

November 20, 2011 at 6:46 am 1 comment

There has been much ado lately threatening the reputation of British Columbia’s fishing industry. According to an October 28th New York Times report, the deadly Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus was detected in Pacific salmon in BC which, if true, could have had a “deep impact on the survival of salmon in the Pacific Northwest.” As a point of reference, in 2008, the wholesale value of wild salmon sold by BC fisheries totalled approximately $135.2 Million. Alas, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has just confirmed that the NYT report was indeed much ado about nothing.

Federal officials from the CFIA, along with officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and British Columbia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, provided a technical briefing on new test results indicating that there are no confirmed cases of Infectious Salmon Anaemia in British Columbia salmon.

The National Reference Laboratory has completed Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing, a sensitive but preliminary test, that has shown no presence of ISA in the samples provided; this is the same process that was reportedly used in the original claims of positive test results by individual sources. Officials provided information on the extensive actions underway by the Government of Canada to investigate claims about the presence of the disease, the timeline of test results, and the proper, science-based requirements for testing. Officials also indicated that there will be investigations into the collection, handling, transportation and storage of samples by other sources that led to the original claims.

One possibility being investigated is that poor sample handling lead to the original false results.

PEOPLE! Don’t forget that poor sample handling and preparation is a surefire way to mess up your PCR or qPCR experiments! In order to ensure that you don’t fall into this trap, be sure to familiarize yourself with the MIQE technique and have a look at our recently reposted Appropriate Genomic Data Analysis Techniques. You will save yourself a lot of heartache by following the advice of these PCR experts.

For more on this story see this statement from the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Entry filed under: Biotechnology News, PCR. Tags: , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Heather Olney  |  November 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    When will the Canadian Government stop giving Alex Morton permits to sample dead rotten fish or any fish for that matter ?


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