The search is on for the perfect catfish and scientists at the USDA have come up with the answer – fingerprinting fish!
The channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) is the most commonly cultured fish in the US accounting for more than half of the nation’s total aquaculture output; catfish production and associated industries are now worth more than US $7 million.
At the USDA-ARS Catfish Genetics Research Unit in Mississippi, researchers are screening populations of catfish using DNA fingerprinting for particular traits of interest such as leaner growth, higher carcass yield and increased pond survival. The system relies on selection of DNA markers generated from over 10,000 microsatellite sequences already identified from the catfish genome.
The screening study has already provided insights into the biology of the fish showing that catfish males spawn multiple times within a season, and will provide the basis for the US catfish industries first strain certification system.
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