March 03, 2020
Tilapia are the second most farmed fish and provide a source of nutrients, protein and essential fatty acids for many people around the world. Unfortunately, in 2014 a virus was detected that decimated tilapia populations and there is no vaccine or treatment for Tilapia Lake Virus currently available.
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh and WorldFish have discovered genes that confer resistance to the virus that are present in tilapia populations, which could be a breakthrough in protecting farmed tilapia. The researchers conducted an experiment where tilapia from 124 families were placed in a pond where Tilapia Lake Virus was present. They discovered that some families had much better survival rates than others which indicates that resistance to the virus is inherited.
Selectively breeding tilapia with genetic resistance to the virus could go a long way to reducing the impact of Tilapia Pond Virus. Importantly for those who farm tilapia, the genes associated with viral resistance are not linked to genes associated with growth, so breeding healthier fish would not reduce farmers yields, and would allow tilapia to remain an affordable source of protein for people.
Source: Phys Org
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