ERC Advanced Grants to Olli Raitakari and Craig Primmer
​Professor Olli Raitakari from the Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine of the University of Turku will use the grant to carry out an extensive population study that examines epigenetics.

​The five-year ERC Advanced Grants are given to established, leading principal investigators who have a track-record of significant research achievements. The ERC Advanced Grants are one of the most competed funding in Europe.

Raitakari and Primmer are the first researchers at the University of Turku who have been granted the funding. The grant is approximately €2.5 million; the exact amount is decided after negotiations with the European Research Council.

The grant awarded to Professor Olli Raitakari from the Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine of the University of Turku will be used in an extensive population study. The study that encompasses three generations will examine the impact of parental smoking, exposure to environmental toxins and psychosocial stress on the health of the children and grandchildren.

Raitakari's study examines epigenetics, i.e. heritable traits that are not caused by DNA. Epigenetic, heritable changes have been discovered in animal tests, but their significance to human health has not yet been discovered.

The funding granted to Academy Professor of Genetics Craig Primmer will be directed to research that studies the  genetic architecture of salmon at the age of maturity in natural populations. This is a globally unique research project that is largely based on a study published in Nature magazine in 2015, in which Primmer and his team reported that a single gene (VGLL3) explained 40 per cent of the variation in sea-age at maturity in the Atlantic salmon. This was a surprising result, since it was previously thought that life-history traits are regulated by several genes. 

Primmer's research is socially significant as it provides important insights and information for fisheries management. The study yields fundamental information about how the reduction in age at maturity in response to fishing can be prevented. Primmer moves to the University of Helsinki in May 2017.


The funding granted to Academy Professor of Genetics Craig Primmer will be directed to research that studies the  the genetic architecture of mature salmons in natural populations.

Text: Jenni Valta
Translation: Mari Ratia
Photos: Hanna Oksanen and PnP Research Group

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Published date 3/24/2017 1:55 PM ,  Modified date 3/24/2017 2:01 PM

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