Idaho Fish Geneticist Receives Research Honor
By Marcia Wood
March 1, 2005
National news release
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
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
Grains and Potato Research Unit and working at the Hagerman Fish Culture
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.