e-ISSN 2231-8542
ISSN 1511-3701

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Aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific Region: Applications of Molecular Population Genetics

Peter B. Mather

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 31, Issue 1, February 2008

Keywords: Aquaculture, Asia-Pacific Region, aquatic species, genetic diversity

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The utility of applied molecular population genetics in aquaculture has been questioned by some quantitative geneticists. They argue that there have been few examples where research in this area has directly resulted in development of improved strains used in culture. Here I suggest that this could be a narrow view of the diversity of issues that need to be addressed when new stock improvement programs for aquatic species are initiated. My belief is that this view has arisen due to fundamental differences in the relative starting points faced when new productive strains of terrestrial vs aquatic farmed species are developed. Aquatic species in general, possess very high fecundities and as a consequence of husbandry practices are therefore prone to lose genetic diversity much more rapidly in culture than comparable terrestrial farmed species. Additionally, natural populations of most aquatic farmed species are still common in the wild, unlike their terrestrial counterparts, and so can provide important genetic resources that can be exploited in sustainable ways to improve culture lines. Taken together, this implies that genetic diversity is a much more significant issue broadly speaking, for farmed aquatic species compared with terrestrial farmed species. Thus farming of aquatic species can benefit from application of wellconducted molecular population genetic research. Thus, the narrow view that some quantitative geneticists have taken on the utility of molecular population genetics in aquaculture, in my opinion may miss the broader applications of the technologies that can assist a move to development and farming of improved breeds of aquatic species while conserving natural gene pools in the Asia-Pacific region.

ISSN 1511-3701

e-ISSN 2231-8542

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