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US prawns have small family tree

by the Fish Site Editor
23 October 2007, at 1:00am

US - Researchers from Kentucky State University made a trek to Johnson County to get 50 pounds of prawns from Tangle Foot Ranch.

Their mission: to hand pick live prawns and take them back to the University for genetic research, both to improve the species and to improve production.

When you're a prawn farmer, you can't be afraid to get dirty or wet.

Grover Webb, curator at Tangle Foot, is draining his prawn ponds because of the cooler weather. Once the outdoor temperature hits the 60's the prawns start to die off.

Webb says sensitivity to temperature is only one of the things about prawn farming that could be improved. “I have been in the livestock business all my life and I understand the importance of genetics in beef cattle and pigs and sheep and I've always thought that we need room for improvement in the freshwater shrimp.”

It is a very similar premise. Researchers are trying to improve prawn production. Which is about an increase in numbers, size, durability and diversity. That's why Shawn Coyle and Kyle Schneider, researchers from Kentucky State University are at the Tangle Foot Ranch.

According to Coyle and Schneider, in the 1960's, only 12 individual reproduction ready animals made their way to Hawaii. Which means the prawns in North America may not have a widely branching family tree.

The researchers say the North American animals are not inbred, but may not be as genetically diverse as their East Asia relatives. The research at Kentucky State University has the potential to improve prawn traits including cold tolerance, p-h tolerance, and a longer survival rate.

Source: WSIL 3

the Fish Site Editor