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PubMed | University of Prince Edward Island, University of Victoria, Pacific Biological Station Nanaimo and Laval University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Evolutionary applications | Year: 2015

Salmon lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis are an ecologically and economically important parasite of wild and farmed salmon. In Scotland, Norway, and Eastern Canada, L.salmonis have developed resistance to emamectin benzoate (EMB), one of the few parasiticides available for salmon lice. Drug resistance mechanisms can be complex, potentially differing among populations and involving multiple genes with additive effects (i.e., polygenic resistance). Indicators of resistance development may enable early detection and countermeasures to avoid the spread of resistance. Here, we collect sensitive Pacific L.salmonis and sensitive and resistant Atlantic L.salmonis from salmon farms, propagate in laboratory (F1), expose to EMB in bioassays, and evaluate either baseline (Atlantic only) or induced transcriptomic differences between populations. In all populations, induced responses were minor and a cellular stress response was not identified. Pacific lice did not upregulate any genes in response to EMB, but downregulated degradative enzymes and transport proteins at 50ppb EMB. Baseline differences between sensitive and now resistant Atlantic lice were much greater than responses to exposures. All resistant lice overexpressed degradative enzymes, and resistant males, the most resistant group, overexpressed collagenases to the greatest extent. These results indicate an accumulation of baseline expression differences related to resistance.

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