More about Overturf's research
WASHINGTON, March 1, 2005New tactics for determining whether a rainbow trout is genetically predisposed to thrive on grain-rich feed, instead of feed made from its sea-going brethren, have landed a regional research honor for Hagerman, Idaho-based fish geneticist Kenneth E. Overturf of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In a national awards ceremony held here recently, Overturf was named "Early Career Scientist of 2004" for ARS' Pacific West Area, which encompasses Arizona, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
Outstanding scientists who have been with ARS for seven years or less and who have earned their Ph.D. within the past decade can be nominated for the Early Career award.
Overturf received his Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology in 1994 from the University of Nevada at Reno, and his B.S. in biology from Boise (Idaho) State University in 1989. He joined ARS in 2000, assigned to the Small Grains and Potato Research Unit and working at the Hagerman Fish Culture Station.
He developed a gene-based test that relies on detecting and comparing levels of myosin, a well-known protein, to accurately determine which families of trout are genetically equipped to flourish on a low-cost, environmentally friendly grain-based feed
"Dr. Overturf's high-tech research could help fish ranchers to more easily and inexpensively produce delicious, low-calorie fresh fish for consumers," said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling.
Fish farmers would likely be able to buy grain-rich feeds, made from locally grown grain, at lower cost than fishmeal-based feeds. Using less fishmeal could mean less fishing of sea-going species such as menhaden or sardines and could reduce the risk of over-fishing the world's oceans.