Some examples of useful software tools needed to support breeding programs in the CRC would be:
•Models to simulate selective breeding programs and to determine economic weights of key traits and optimise the breeding program design accordingly.
• Relational database systems for effective, reliable recording, storage and output of relational data (pedigree, phenotypes, genotypes etc.)
• Pedigree analysis software or procedures
• Genetic analysis software or procedures
• Software that assists development of multiple trait selection indices incorporating economic weights for key target traits
• Software that helps guide mate selection (including optimum contribution selection tools)
Each breeding program in the Seafood CRC will ultimately need to know:
•What type of software do other established breeding programs (in aquaculture and other primary production) require and use?
• What software is already available, from where and from who? What problems do the tools address and what do they enable?
• Which software tools are applicable or easily adapted to aquaculture?
• What level of adaptation would be required for the adoption of existing tools into aquaculture and what resources (skills) would this need?
• Which tools could address common problems across different aquaculture sectors?
• What level of skill is needed to operate the software?
• Does the software have good documentation and do the developers offer support services?
• Is the software freely available, available at a price, available to partners or maintained as a trade secret?
• Might it be useful to link to other breeding companies or organizations (aquatic, livestock or forestry) to access existing tools or expertise for developing such tools?
• Are there initiatives underway or being planned that aim to develop useful new software for aquaculture and might the CRC be able to link to such initiatives?
The Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Center is developing a Theme Business Plan to support and coordinate a cooperative approach to aquaculture genetics research in the CRC. One of the needs identified in the development of this plan is the provision of tools and technologies to facilitate the planning and implementation of selective breeding programs. This is already a target for the oyster industry and will develop as an important need for a range of other aquaculture production sectors. Such tools will be important in order to “respond to, take advantage and meet the increased demand for seafood”. A common requirement for selective breeding programs is good software management tools. These tools are essential in order to keep track of individuals and important information relating to them (pedigree, treatment, trait data, marker information, estimated breeding values etc) and to streamline genetic analysis and decision making.