With increasing global population and peaking production levels for terrestrial agriculture and wild capture fisheries, aquaculture is positioned to meet future seafood demand. However, only an estimated 10% of aquaculture stock are selectively improved, due to technical barriers in implementing effective aquaculture selective breeding programs, such as the inability to physically tag offspring. Molecular technologies provide the means to overcome these technical difficulties and also improve on traditional phenotypic selection, by incorporating genetic data into selection programs. The primary focus of this present study is to develop molecular tools to identify family relationships (pedigree assignment) and genes associated with traits (genetic parameters and functional markers) within aquaculture breeding programs, enabling effective management of genetic resources and optimizing of selection response. In essence this research will drive a necessary shift from mass selection based on phenotypes (the visible appearance of the animal) which currently dominates Australian aquaculture, often without regard to family relationships and inbreeding levels, to one that incorporates selection based on genetic information such as functional markers and information from relatives, while managing genetic diversity and rates of inbreeding.
Submitted in the fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2016.
University of the Sunshine Coast Theses
Exploring molecular technologies to optimise traditional breeding programs in aquaculture: Developing pedigrees using DNA microsatellite and discovering functional genes using genomics