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Xelect celebrates 10th birthday

June 12, 2023  By Hatchery International staff

(Photo: Xelect Ltd.)

Aquaculture genetics company, Xelect Ltd., celebrated 10 years in advanced genetic services.

In a press release on June 12, the company reflects on its journey from a small office at the Scottish Oceans Institute to a large, custom-built laboratory in St Andrews, Scotland.

The company started out as a spin-off from the University of St Andrews, founded by then director of the Scottish Oceans Institute, Prof. Ian Johnston, and his PhD student at the time, Tom Ashton. The initial idea was to focus on discovering genetic markers to use in breeding programs. In 2017, the company gained additional funding from Eos Advisory to expand its services for broodstock management and genetic improvement.

“Understanding of the role of genetics in aquaculture may have started later than in terrestrial farming, but we’re catching up fast,” said Johnston in a company statement. “We now have a range of services suitable for everyone – whether it’s a ground-breaking advanced genomic selection programme, a highly cost-effective family selection programme or just short-term genetics consultancy.”


Xelect manages programmes for 13 different species for customers around the world, including established aquaculture species, such as salmon, trout, bass, bream and shrimp. It also developed expertise in emergent aquaculture species, such as pangasius, kingfish and barramundi.

Last month, Xelect was recognised by the UK Government for its inaugural “Made in the UK, Sold to the World Awards,” which celebrates UK small businesses exporting around the world.

“After a global ban on travel, we were able to adapt rapidly and realised that we could establish breeding programmes for customers on the other side of the world entirely remotely. In fact, over the last five years, our customer base has tripled in size,” said COO Chris Wallard.


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