Investigating the enhancement of Nile tilapia breeding in Uganda through integration of modern aquaculture breeding and genetics tools
About the project
UK-registered Partner: The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh – Robert Mukiibi
Africa-registered Partner: The National Animal Genetic Resources Centre & Data Bank (NAGRC&DB) – Ezra Byakora
The demand for high quality protein in Uganda and the surrounding region is rapidly increasing mainly due to the fast-growing population coupled with improvement in household income. Fish is a major source of protein in Uganda, where 20% of the fish comes from aquaculture. Though there is an increasing trend in the national aquaculture output over the past decade, this remains way below the production potential of the aquaculture industry mainly due to a lack of improved fish strains for the farmers.
To contribute to development of better producing Nile tilapia strains we trained we trained a total of 19 farmers, of which 13 were Nile Tilapia hatchery operators and 6 grow-out farmers, on the best practices in fish breeding and management. We further trained 13 technical staff from National Animal Genetic Resources and Databank (NAGRC&DB) on the use of modern genomic tools in aquaculture breeding.
We have established a cheap and reliable individual identification system using TBF anchor tags for the NAGRC&DB’s Nile tilapia development program. With the intention of establishing a diverse tilapia breeding stock, through this project we have recruited a total of 560 fish from three of Uganda’s major lakes (Kyoga, Victoria and Albert) as well as 13 different farms across the country, and all the fish have been tagged and are undergoing phenotyping evaluation to establish a superior breeding stock.
It is worth noting that these fish are also undergoing genomic profiling which will enable NAGRC&DB and the Roslin institute to evaluate genetic health of farmed fish relative to the wild fish. Additionally, these genomic profiles will be utilised to evaluate genetic architecture (including genetic parameters and associated genomic regions) of key traits including growth rate, final harvest weight and fillet traits of the sampled fish.
This study has established a collaborative partnership between NAGRC&DB and the Roslin institute that will contribute to the development of indigenous farmed fish strains and other livestock species.