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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Development of Genetically Superior Lines of Commercial Channel Catfish Through Selective Breeding

Authors
item Wolters, William
item Goudie, Cheryl
item Waldbieser, Geoffrey
item Bosworth, Brian

Submitted to: Annual Meeting World Aquaculture Society
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: February 19, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, farming began over 30 years ago and has become one of the most successful aquaculture enterprises in the United States. Early research efforts in reproduction, nutrition, and disease control laid the foundation for the establishment of commercial culture. Research on channel catfish genetics and breeding began in the late 1960's and early 1970's, however, applications of genetic improvement in channel catfish culture fall behind genetic improvements made in other farm animal industries. Increases possible in production efficiency from catfish breeding are projected to be larger than any increases in other animals. Improving production efficiency in catfish culture from the use of improved germplasm is possible, but will occur only through long-term genetic research programs integrated with improved culture technology. Constraints limiting the potential of channel catfish breeding and selection programs need to be identified. Future breeding programs will be required to address and utilize research information from areas of qualitative and quantitative genetics, reproductive efficiency, molecular and cellular genetics, and incorporate new biotechnologies. 

Technical Abstract: Channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, farming began over 30 years ago and has become a successful aquaculture enterprise in the United States, however, genetic improvement in channel catfish has not approached the magnitude realized in other animal industries. An applied breeding program has been initiated to address all areas of genetics and reproduction using traditional and novel approaches to selective breeding. The goal is to develop improved stocks for release to commercial farmers. Experiments using individual and family selection, crossbreeding, and interspecific hybridization have been utilized to measure phenotypic and genetic variation for growth rate, disease resistance, spawning success, and carcass characteristics. Isogenic and homozygous lines have been produced by gynogenesis to speed establishment of inbred lines for selective breeding research and commercial applications. Hormone administration to alter sex and matings of sex-manipulated fish have produced reproducing populations of males and females with YY-sex genotype. Since the genetic composition of commercial catfish strains is largely unknown, molecular genetic markers are being developed and used to characterize catfish populations. Several microsatellite loci have demonstrated high levels of allelic polymorphism and will be used to form the basis of a linkage map of the catfish genome for marker assisted selection. 

Last Modified: 4/16/2014