Sunday, November 22, 2020

How genetics plays a role in the fish farming industry

A fishery pen based off the coast of Chile. Used from this article

    According to an article published in science magazine, to date, there is currently only one genetically modified species of fish that is mass produced in the industry: a transgenic salmon. However, scientists have looked into new modes of fish farming to include gene altering in order to make fish more marketable and easier to farm. This article talks about different methods scientists are in the process of studying when it comes to fish farming. Fish consumption is on the rise and is raising a big issue when it comes to commercial fishing and aquaculture. They need to be able to produce mass quantities of fish without destroying the ecosystem of the ocean and raise and breed fish that are still palatable towards the consumers. 

    This article specifically talks about the process of "genomic selection". In the past, fish farmers went through great lengths to be able to obtain the fish with the desired "traits" or genetics. This would raise issues during breeding different generations to try and identify which fish they wanted to selectively breed. Instead of struggling trying to select the fish with the desired traits, scientists are now able to use single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP's) to identify siblings of a generation with the genetic trait of interest. By doing this, they are able to obtain the fish that they want to continue to breed quickly and efficiently without having to kill the fish to determine its genetics. This technology has been used in other areas of farming and is just beginning in aquaculture. To improve the growth rate of fish, scientists have been looking into using gene transfer technology. However, when it comes to genetically modifying food, consumers a weary when it comes to genetically altered food and have not responded well to food that's been genetically altered in the past. Observation of genetic markers allows scientists to understand and observe a fishes ability to resist specific diseases and illnesses. Understanding resistance can help scientists prevent diseases and increase a farmed fishes survival rate. The article continues on with other various explantations of how specific genetic testing and well as SNP's are ultimately helping the fish farming and aquaculture industry. 

    This article is very important especially as the fish industry is growing at an exponential rate. I had the opportunity to take a fisheries class at Stockton so to be able to see how genetics is tackling some of the most prevalent problems in the fishery industry is truly amazing. The fishery industry as been in high demand as people are now consuming more fish than ever before. Many of the fish that are in high demand are not the easiest to raise in an aquaculture setting and some take a very long time to reach full maturity. All over the world there is an issue where in mass produced products like frozen fish fillets or even fish that is being served at a restaurant, it is not actually the fish that is placed on the label. Some of this is due to the price of the actual fish that is in demand and there is a cheaper "look-a-like" or the fish that is in demand is so overfished it is hard to obtain. By using SNP's to identify a fish or a fish sample, this will be able to help stop mislabeling in the fishery industry. This genetic technology explained in the article has the ability to change fisheries and aquaculture for the better and save the industry as well as multiple fish populations.

Articles used: Article #1 and Article #2

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