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Yellow Perch - Improving Growth Rate

From Ohio Aquaculture Research and Development Integration Program (OARDIP) Newsletter

From markers to markets: Genetic improvement of yellow perch through commercial-scale marker-aided cohort selection for growth

Han-Ping Wang, Hong Yao, Paul O’Bryant, Jacob Rapp, Laura Tiu and Geoff Wallat

Abstract Yellow perch Perca flavescens is a particularly important aquacultural and ecological species in the Great Lakes Region (GLR) and the Midwest USA. The demand for this species has remained very high in the GLR. Due to the relatively slow growth of currently cultured populations of yellow perch, the development of the yellow perch aquaculture industry has been hindered. The goal of this project was to use a marker-aided cohort selection to improve the growth rate of the species and reduce their grow-out time to market. To achieve this goal, approximately 800 broodfish from eight stocks representing major populations were obtained from eight states (NC, NY, PA, ME, OH, MI, WI and NE). Those fish served as a base population for the breeding program. By performing cross-breeding of the base population, approximately 1500 fast-growing broodfish candidates were selected as a base generation from more than 100 families that were reared in communal ponds, based on both phenotypic and genetic data in two overlapping generations. More than 100 microsatellite markers were developed for the breeding program. Parentage analysis techniques using eight molecular makers in yellow perch have been developed. Five improved lines have been developed through three rounds of selections. For each generation, approximately five hundred fish were selected and genotyped using microsatellites to construct a pedigree. Among the 500 fish, at least 100 pairs of the least related, with highest breeding value were selected and divided into five cohorts based on their pedigree. If the constraint on the rate of inbreeding could not be achieved, another batch of fish was genotyped and included in the total number of candidates. The selection lines were created by pair-mating 20 pairs within each cohort to found the next generation of improved lines. The individuals of average weight were chosen for the control line. This cohort selection has the advantage of preventing the top fish only from limited families. On-farm tests of the improved lines of the third generation are being performed. Current research data shows that the improved lines grew 32.2% faster than unimproved fish in Year 1 in commercial farms. This improvement would make it feasible for yellow perch to reach market size within 14 months in pond culture conditions and in 9 months in recirculating aquaculture   systems. In addition, two mapping families have been established and reared to maturation in tanks for future QTL  mapping.

Journal of Animal Science



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