Seafood CRC: genetic technologies to support a transformation to profitability and competitiveness in F. merguiensis and P. monodon
University of the Sunshine Coast (USC)
There is a need to meet the CRC’s desired $240 million gain in seafood value through innovative technologies as scheduled in the CRC program 1. This proposal will contribute up to 47% of this CRC goal, as explained in the “background” section. This application also meets the need to respond to the FRDC’s challenge 3 (response to demand, profitability) and FRDC priority “develop innovative processes for value-adding through development” (genetic improvement will return greater profit per kg, or increase kgs for same infrastructure). Should the “Seafarm” transformational model be adopted by others, this will directly support the achievement of FRDC’s key performance indicators “at least two companies accessing new markets”, and “at least two entities utilizing improved stock from selective breeding”. This application supports the stated and written need from the APFA, as a major stakeholder, to achieve a method to apply its R&D levy for the whole of the industry, for both P. monodon and F. merguiensis. The application makes the case that as a transformational model for profitability through innovative technologies this project delivers industry wide outcomes
1. Understand if past and existing breeding practices led to significant inbreeding (more than 2% per generation) and, if substantial inbreeding has occurred and will continue to occur, develop options to track family pedigrees and so more effectively limit inbreeding
2. Estimate genetic heritabilities and correlations for commercially important traits. This information will be available for companies to develop efficient breeding programs
3. Determine if functional markers for a range of commercial traits are commercially feasible. If so, these makers will be available for companies to integrate into their breeding programs through a selection index
Seafarm, at Cardwell, for most of the last 20 years, has been Australia’s largest prawn farm and the major producer of Banana Prawns. This producer wanted to understand and resolve the suspected inbreeding/ loss of diversity issues, and if necessary, redesign their breeding program to ensure it would be sustainable in the long term. This project attempted a “forensic” examination of a prawn selection program with the intention that the information would help make the program more sustainable and contribute foundation knowledge of what likely happens in such mass selection programs conducted by other companies on organisms with very high fecundities. It was also tested whether hepatopacreatic parvovirus (HPV) was under genetic control.
This project was able to provide genetic management information that promoted increased productivity at Seafarm, helping to revise their genetic breeding program to mitigate inbreeding and restore allelic diversity. The revised program has halted further inbreeding; increased the diversity in the crossed lined; lifted the growth of the outcrossed lines vs the inbred lines; and accelerated the rate of selection response.