Location: Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture ResearchTitle: Genetic improvement of disease resistance through selective breeding: Concepts, considerations and limitations
Submitted to: Global Aquaculture Advocate
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/18/2019
Publication Date: 2/28/2019
Citation: Leeds, T.D., Wiens, G.D. 2019. Genetic improvement of disease resistance through selective breeding: Concepts, considerations and limitations. Global Aquaculture Advocate. 2019.
Technical Abstract: Selective breeding is the intentional selection and mating of parents with desirable traits. Selective breeding programs with well-defined breeding objectives have been responsible for dramatic improvements in terrestrial livestock production performance. Genetic improvement of farmed aquatic species is still in its infancy, but there is strong consensus of the potential to substantially improve performance for important production-related traits. Genetic improvement of disease resistance traits in animal populations is more complicated compared to traditional production traits. This article outlines the major biological and logistical challenges associated with genetic improvement of disease resistance, and describes some of the inherent advantages that salmonid populations have, compared to terrestrial livestock populations, related to selective breeding for disease resistance. The results, and knowledge gained, from a 10-year selective breeding program for improved resistance to bacterial cold water disease in a rainbow trout population are highlighted. Key considerations for other scientists and breeders that are interested in developing their own selective breeding program for disease resistance are outlined based on the hindsight gained from this long-term program.