Nile tilapia first to have genome sequence

Using DNA from a line of tilapia developed at the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, scientists successfully sequenced the complete genome of Nile tilapia. This is the first commercial farmed fish species to have its genome sequenced.

The sequencing was carried out by the Broad Institute of Cambridge, Mass., which is part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, and the tilapia line was developed to have two identical copies of every part of its genome, which simplifies the processing of the genome sequence data.

The scientists who developed the sequence have also led research into the development of other lines of tilapia in the Tropical Aquarium facility at the Institute of Aquaculture in Scotland. These allow for the production of red tilapia, and nearly all-male populations, which prevents breeding in culture ponds before harvest.

“The sequence and associated data are now available to the scientific community worldwide, and should contribute to further advances in both basic science and aquaculture research,” said the Institute of Aquaculture’s David Penman. “For example, this should help us to find important genes affecting traits such as disease resistance, growth rate and sex determination, allowing more precisely targeted selection to improve aquaculture performance.”


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