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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Aberdeen, Idaho » Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #220703

Title: History of Molecular Biology in Aquaculture

item Overturf, Kenneth - Ken

Submitted to: Current Status of Molecular Techniques in Aquaculture
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2007
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Worldwide over 1 billion people rely on fish as their main protein source. Of the world’s food fish supply for consumption, greater than 43% is supplied by aquaculture. Preliminary studies in fish culture began with evaluating intended improvements in the growing environment and the type of feed that would either reduce loss to disease or enhance growth. Until recently aquaculture was not a distinct scientific discipline, but applied information gleaned from studies performed with other agricultural animals or scientific species and then this information would become integrated into traditional practices and research studies and applied to aquaculture research. To some extent this practice is still followed today, however with the growth and economic development of aquaculture has come increased funding fueling the development of research programs and departments and even entire institutes devoted specifically to aquaculture research. The basis for the rapid advancement of scientific research found today in aquaculture is due to the rapid application of technology which is typically developed in human or medical research and is now becoming available for agriculture research, and as the methodology becomes developed and refined it is then incorporated into studies involving aquaculture species.

Technical Abstract: The roots of aquaculture began more than 4,000 years ago with the practice of Asian emperors maintaining constant supplies of their favorite fish in ponds. Aquaculture research from this time up until the late 1900’s mainly consisted of domestication and rearing of wild stocks in captivity. Initially, rearing species harvested from the wild was the main form of aquaculture. Although fish farming and aquaculture research has been developing for several thousand years, the advent of research on the molecular level is a much more recent occurrence. The history of molecular biology probably began around 1930 with the convergence of various previously distinct biological disciplines including, but not limited to biochemistry, genetics, and virology. However the basics for molecular research was provided even earlier with studies in chemistry, physics, microbiology. Researchers in these areas began to integrate their research finding with hopes of obtaining an understanding of life at its most basic level. The combination of research goals in these areas of science would lead to what is now known as molecular biology. The rapid expanse of the use of molecular techniques in aquaculture is evident by recent expanse of research publications using these methods.