Tiger shrimp plays a significant role in the aquaculture exports of India while rohu carp is a widely cultivated and a relatively inexpensive protein source for rural India. However, disease caused by White spot syndrome virus and Aeromonas are a major problem limiting aquaculture production of the two species in India.
Disease resistance in the genetics
"In four years time, we aim to develop and implement advanced molecular methods into existing selective breeding programs. This will be a tool to improve the species’ disease resistance", says project leader Nick Robinson in Nofima – Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research.
The Indian and Norwegian scientists will also find solutions to assure that this benefit quickly flows onto production sites all over India.
Recent technology advances have greatly improved the potential to quickly find DNA markers for disease resistance and will allow more efficient application of the markers as selective breeding tools for improving disease resistance. The researchers from Norway have been at the forefront with the development and use of these technologies.
White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) is a major disease that has spread worldwide and devastated the aquaculture production of tiger shrimp. The decline in tiger shrimp production in favour of white shrimp is a result of the devastating impact of this disease.
The infection of fresh water fish species with Aeromonas bacteria causes major economic losses and it is a major factor limiting production of rohu and other freshwater species worldwide.
Treatment of such diseases with antibiotics results in antibiotic-resistant strains while the treatment with chemicals raises a great concern for the residues in the environment and food fish. No effective vaccines are currently available for these diseases.
This project is also helping to build a strategic technology alliance between the relevant parties in India and Norway. Knowledge and resources developed as part of the research efforts for Norwegian aquaculture species, and the broader international genome research effort for shrimp and carp species, can be shared to benefit the aquaculture industry in India.
The collaborative project will be lead by researchers in Nofima who have been developing and implementing similar technologies in Norway for Atlantic salmon. The Norwegian researchers will assist the scientists in India at the Central Institute for Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA) and the Central Institute for Brackish Water Aquaculture (CIBA) to develop and implement the use of marker technology. Work to ensure the flow of benefits to rural communities in India will be done in cooperation with colleagues at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Norway and the University of Pune in India.
The Norwegian Research Council and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, are funding the project.