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Integrating molecular genetic technology with traditional approaches for genetic improvement in aquaculture species

Davis, G.P., Hetzel, D.J.S.
Aquaculture research 2000 v.31 no.1 pp. 3-10
Health and Pathology, agricultural programs and projects, breeding, fish, shellfish, aquaculture, molecular genetics, genetic improvement, profitability, economic analysis, inbreeding, crossing, genetic markers, monitoring, heritability, selection criteria, quantitative traits, loci, genetic variation, inheritance (genetics)
Genetic improvement of aquaculture species offers a substantial opportunity for increased production efficiency, health, product quality and, ultimately, profitability in aquacultural enterprises. Technologies exist that can be implemented immediately to improve multiple traits that have economic value, while simultaneously accounting for inbreeding effects. Genetic improvement techniques for delivering genetic gain include formal definition of the breeding objective, estimation of genetic parameters that describe populations and their differences, evaluation of additive and non-additive genetic merit of individuals or families and defining the structure of a breeding programme in terms of mating plans. Novel genetic technologies involving the use of DNA-based tools are also under development for a range of aquaculture species. These gene marker technologies can be used for identification and monitoring of lines, families and individuals, monitoring and control of inbreeding, diagnosis of simply inherited traits and genetic improvement through selection for favourable genes and gene combinations. The identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL), and direct or linked markers for them, will facilitate marker-assisted selection in aquaculture species, enabling improvement in economically important traits, particularly those that are difficult to breed for, such as food conversion efficiency and disease resistance.