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New genetic tool for Brazilian tilapia farmers

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A new genetic tool is available for Brazilian tilapia farmers. TilaPlus, developed by Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology within the AquaPlus platform, will help farmers avoid inbreeding and increase the quality of their production. TilaPlus is a genomic test for the analysis of paternity, parentage, individual identification and genetic variability for tilapia broodstock.

“Tilapia is very prolific and larvae and fingerlings are hard to identify individually. The lack of good tools for managing broodstock leads to consanguineous matings either for the production of fingerlings for production or the replacement of the breeding stock,” said Alexandre Caetano, who oversaw the development of the test and other services available at AquaPlus. “Inbreeding causes losses in the nursery stages with the additional death of approximately 25% of the fingerlings and higher than 10% in the ongrowing stages, which reflects on the profitability of farmers.”

TilaPlus was tested on 192 samples collected in retail stores, which allowed the initial technical validation of the tool. Later, 336 samples from seven commercial fish farms in the South, Southeast, Midwest and Northeast regions were tested. After these two phases, the genetic tool was ready for validation in an operational environment. 

According to Caetano, two contracts for the provision of services to two producers have already been executed. One of the TilaPlus contractors had all its breeding stock analyzed, which allowed the identification of families and develop the company's genetic improvement program. 

“TilaPlus represents one of the pillars of the services and technologies that the AquaPlus platform team offers to the sector for qualification, management and genetic improvement of aquaculture species,” Caetano said.

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