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Benchmark researchers identify genetic trait with S. inae resistance in tilapia

March 29, 2023  By Hatchery International staff

Benjamin LaFrentz and Paige Mumma scanning tags of tilapia into computer software and experimentally infecting Spring Genetics tilapia with Streptococcus iniae. (Photo: Benchmark Genetics)

Benchmark researchers have identified a significant quantitative trait locus (QTL) that could affect a tilapia’s disease resistance to Streptococcus iniae.

The breakthrough discovery could lead to improving health and sustainability in tilapia farming. Benchmark geneticist Sergio Vela-Avitúa et al. collaborated on this research wth the USDA’s Aquatic Animal Health Research Unit (AAHRU). According to the company’s press statement, the QTL found by the team explained up to 26 per cent of the genetic variation in resistance. Fish were then selectively bred for survival to S. inae using marker-assisted selection (MAS) to demonstrate resistance in fish classified as “resistant” or “susceptible”.

The research has been published in Frontiers, titled “Genome-wide association study for Streptococcus iniae in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) identifies a significant QTL for disease resistance.”

“The results were impressive, with a final cumulative percent mortality of only one per cent for offspring from resistant parents, compared to 73 per cent for offspring from susceptible parents. These results demonstrate that MAS for improved resistance to S. iniae is feasible and likely to be highly effective,” said Vela-Avitúa.

Benchmark Genetics has already implemented these results into their breeding and production of genetically improved Spring Tilapia breeders and fingerlings.

“Our proprietary Spring Tilapia strain is the result of years of pioneering research and innovation,” said Morten Rye, Director of Genetics at Benchmark Genetics. “We are confident that this new development will provide significant benefits to our customers and to the industry as a whole.”

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