Developing genomic tools for New Zealand Aquaculture

Underwater view of an aquaculture farm of green lip mussels, where long ropes covered in mussels descend from the surface to the bottom of the sea.
Green lip mussel aquaculture farm

Technologies now exist that enable us to quickly and efficiently locate, characterise, and isolate genes linked to traits of economic importance. The application of this information can have far reaching benefits in terms of stock enhancement and the identification and generation of novel commercial products, but has thus far been applied only sparingly to global aquaculture and never in a New Zealand context.

Here we seek to develop a genomic scaffold and genetic markers for GreenshellTM mussel (Perna canaliculus), a species that with export earnings of NZ$202m (2009) is the cornerstone of the NZ aquaculture industry, but which thus far has been the subject of little genetic improvement, with the life cycle only closed recently.

Interfacing traditional animal husbandry, aquaculture and new genomic approaches we will develop and apply a suite of genomic tools to rapidly enhance this species through marker based selective breeding.

Using this approach we hope to produce a product that has, for example, more appealing colouration and flesh characteristics, enhanced food conversion and growth rates, heightened resistance to disease, improved shelf life, and higher levels of valuable nutraceutical compounds.

Collaborators

Dr. Shannon Clarke (AgResearch)

Ms. Hayley Baird (AgResearch)

Dr. Rudi Brauning (AgResearch)

Dr. Rachael Ashby (AgResearch)

Mr. Nick King (Cawthron)

Dr. Rodney Roberts (SpatNZ)

Dr. Chris Brown (University of Otago)