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Saltwater tilapia breeding programme shows promise

Breeding & genetics Tilapia / Cichlids +2 more

A team of researchers based in Singapore claim to be close to their goal of developing a strain of tilapia that can thrive in salt water.

Attempts to farm tilapia, naturally a freshwater range of species, in marine environments have previously met with mixed results, with the fish generally experiencing high mortality rates.

However, after eight years of working on a breeding programme, a team of researchers based at the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) told Channel News Asia that they have "almost achieved" their goal.

Tilapia are generally raised in freshwater, their natural environment

© Spring Genetics

"We have been hoping to achieve high-yield, fast-growth tilapia that can survive in sea water. I think we have almost achieved that," said research investigator Liew Woie Chang.

The breeding programme is now into its fifth generation of salt-tolerant individuals, and the gains have been achieved without the use of genetic modification.