Impacts of traditional husbandry practices on exploitable levels of genetic diversity in cultured 'Tra' catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Bui, Thi Lien Ha (2011) Impacts of traditional husbandry practices on exploitable levels of genetic diversity in cultured 'Tra' catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Sutchi catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) – known more universally by the Vietnamese name ‘Tra’ is an economically important freshwater fish in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam that constitutes an important food resource. Artificial propagation technology for Tra catfish has only recently been developed along the main branches of the Mekong River where more than 60% of the local human population participate in fishing or aquaculture. Extensive support for catfish culture in general, and that of Tra (P. hypophthalmus) in particular, has been provided by the Vietnamese government to increase both the scale of production and to develop international export markets. In 2006, total Vietnamese catfish exports reached approximately 286,602 metric tons (MT) and were valued at 736.87 $M with a number of large new export destinations being developed. Total value of production from catfish culture has been predicted to increase to approximately USD 1 billion by 2020. While freshwater catfish culture in Vietnam has a promising future, concerns have been raised about long-term quality of fry and the effectiveness of current brood stock management practices, issues that have been largely neglected to date. In this study, four DNA markers (microsatellite loci: CB4, CB7, CB12 and CB13) that were developed specifically for Tra (P. hypophthalmus) in an earlier study were applied to examine the genetic quality of artificially propagated Tra fry in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. The goals of the study were to assess: (i) how well available levels of genetic variation in Tra brood stock used for artificial propagation in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam (breeders from three private hatcheries and Research Institute of Aquaculture No2 (RIA2) founders) has been conserved; and (ii) whether or not genetic diversity had declined significantly over time in a stock improvement program for Tra catfish at RIA2. A secondary issue addressed was how genetic markers could best be used to assist industry development. DNA was extracted from fins of catfish collected from the two main branches of the Mekong River inf Vietnam, three private hatcheries and samples from the Tra improvement program at RIA2.

Study outcomes:

i) Genetic diversity estimates for Tra brood stock samples were similar to, and slightly higher than, wild reference samples. In addition, the relative contribution by breeders to fry in commercial private hatcheries strongly suggest that the true Ne is likely to be significantly less than the breeder numbers used; ii) in a stock improvement program for Tra catfish at RIA2, no significant differences were detected in gene frequencies among generations (FST=0.021, P=0.036>0.002 after Bonferroni correction); and only small differences were observed in alleles frequencies among sample populations.

To date, genetic markers have not been applied in the Tra catfish industry, but in the current project they were used to evaluate the levels of genetic variation in the Tra catfish selective breeding program at RIA2 and to undertake genetic correlations between genetic marker and trait variation. While no associations were detected using only four loci, they analysis provided training in the practical applications of the use of molecular markers in aquaculture in general, and in Tra culture, in particular.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 46957
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Mather, Peter & Hurwood, David
Keywords: fisheries, aquaculture, genetic diversity, Pangasianodon hypophthalamus, Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Divisions: Past > Schools > Biogeoscience
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 10 Nov 2011 02:11
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2011 02:11

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