A new research programme involving eight Danish institutions is described. The programme started in 1993 and is expected to run for 5 years. The primary objective of the research initiative is to exploit and integrate the knowledge of several institutions and disciplines for the benefit of the production of rainbow trout. The programme includes several projects with aspects of disease prevention, genetics, and nutrition. In most of the projects, the work has been divided into stages of 2 and 3 years, respectively. During a 2 year period, production, management, and health status are recorded at the participating fish farms, and all data are organized in a database. Diseases cause major problems in rainbow trout production, therefore a great deal of the effort in this programme deals with diseases caused by vira, bacteria and parasites. On the basis of the database, epidemiological examinations are carried out as well as investigations of the possibilities of preventive measures and cost-benefit analyses.

In the genetic studies, polymorphic genetic markers will be developed and used for analysis of the genetic structure of selected fish stocks. Microsatellites will be developed and introduced in the study. Primarily genetic differences between lines/strains and their crossings will be estimated with the purpose of describing the genetic level and the importance of additive and non-additive genetic effects. In the nutritional area the product quality and pollution questions will be in focus.