Giant Freshwater Prawn Strain That Grows 25 Percent Faster May Help Asian Farmers
By Juliana Chan | Featured Research
September 16, 2011
Australian scientists have helped develop a prawn that grows 25 percent faster than other cultured strains.
AsianScientist (Sep. 16, 2011) – Queensland University of Technology (QUT) scientists, working with national aquaculture research agencies, have helped develop a prawn that grows 25 percent faster than other cultured strains.
These giant freshwater prawns may help to support development in the Mekong River Basin, which crosses six countries in Southeast Asia.
Professor Peter Mather, the Biogeosciences discipline leader at QUT, said 60 million people living in the Mekong River Basin relied on fish and prawns for animal protein and their livelihoods.
By shortening the production cycle, there will be more money for the farmer, he said.
“Freshwater prawn aquaculture is a huge industry in Southeast Asia worth more than AU$1 billion per year,” he said.
“However, with population growth in these countries and disruption of fish migratory patterns because of large-scale hydroelectric projects and other developments, wild fish stocks are being depleted rapidly.”
One of Prof. Mather’s students, QUT PhD researcher Dinh Hung, conducted the Vietnam-government funded research into improving growth rates of the giant freshwater prawn with the Research Institute for Aquaculture No2 (RIA2) in South Vietnam.
During the three-year selective breeding program, the Vietnamese scientists combined three giant freshwater prawn strains from Vietnam and Thailand into a single breeding stock. They then took the synthetic line and picked the best families and the best individuals within those high-performing families.
This breeding program led to a significant breakthrough with an improved culture strain that grows 25 percent faster than regular strains.
Two of Prof. Mather’s other students, QUT PhD researchers Hyungtaek Jung from South Korea and Norainy Husin from Malaysia, are using this strain to identify key genes that affected the growth rate of giant freshwater prawns.
“These genes can be used as markers to identify fast-growing individuals while they are still of small size,” he said.
“If similar genetic markers also exist in other crustaceans, we may be able to use them to produce fast growing culture strains for other species as well.”
The research team at QUT has recently also introduced giant freshwater prawn strains to Fiji as part of an Australian government-funded project to assist aquaculture development in the Pacific region.
Source: Queensland University of Technology.
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