Faculty Advisor

Tyler, Jeffrey A.


Previous studies have developed methods assessing the growth and feeding conditions of fish using RNA:DNA ratios from muscle tissue, and more recently scales. In this study, feeding condition and growth were also assessed using scales collected from juvenile rainbow trout to gather RNA:DNA ratios. The fish were organized into four tanks receiving two different food rations: one maintained the initial fish weight and one caused a proposed 20% weight increase. Two studies were conducted using identical tank setups: Pilot and Main. The Pilot study results showed an unusual pattern in RNA:DNA ratios that dominance interactions might explain. Based on these results, the purpose of the Main study was to conduct a more complete examination of the effect of growth and dominance on RNA:DNA ratios in rainbow trout. From the data collected, we determined that there was no correlation between growth and dominance and due to time constraints, we were unable to successfully determine whether RNA:DNA ratios from juvenile rainbow trout scales are an accurate representation of growth and changes in feeding condition. Results also indicate that the correlation between growth and RNA:DNA ratio differs based on the tissue from which the nucleic acids are extracted. There was no correlation between growth and RNA:DNA ratios collected from muscle tissue, but a positive correlation between the two when the nucleic acids were collected from skin and scale scrapings.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2004


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology