Mapping The Way To A Bigger Prawn

December 30, 1997

Dreaming of a bigger prawn to throw on the festive barbecue?

CSIRO researchers have produced the world's first prawn gene map, which is the first step in assisting prawn farmers to grow bigger, faster growing prawns in the future.

The genetic linkage map will be used by researchers to identify the genes for growth rate and other valuable traits in prawns. Using the map as a guide, large increases in the rate of genetic improvement of farmed prawns are possible, compared with those which can be made using traditional breeding strategies.

This early research, conducted by a Brisbane research team, is designed to identify genes which are responsible for growth in prawns and also to estimate the heritability of this trait.

Early indicators from this research suggest that prawn farms using genetic improvement programs could expect increased annual growth rates of around ten percent.

The map, which is a world-first for any crustacean species, will also be used to help identify genes for other important traits such as those which influence flesh quality and disease resistance.

This early success has resulted in a growing international interest in CSIRO's activities in the area . CSIRO scientists are planning to collaborate with scientists with complementary skills from the Australian Institute of Marine Science to produce an International genetic linkage map for the black tiger prawn. This research will involve other groups in Thailand, China and the USA
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CSIRO Australia

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