Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) is a high-value, niche market species for cold-water marine aquaculture. Production of monosex female stocks is desirable in commercial production since females grow faster and mature later than males. Understanding the sex determination mechanism and developing sex-associated markers will shorten the time for the development of monosex female production, thus decreasing the costs of farming.
Sex in Oreochromis niloticus (Nile tilapia) is principally determined by an XX/XY locus but other genetic and environmental factors also influence sex ratio. Restriction Associated DNA (RAD) sequencing was used in two families derived from crossing XY males with females from an isogenic clonal line, in order to identify Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and map the sex-determining region(s). We constructed a linkage map with 3,802 SNPs, which corresponded to 3,280 informative markers, and identified a major sex-determining region on linkage group 1, explaining nearly 96% of the phenotypic variance. This sex-determining region was mapped in a 2 cM interval, corresponding to approximately 1.2 Mb in the O. niloticus draft genome. In order to validate this, a diverse family (4 families; 96 individuals in total) and population (40 broodstock individuals) test panel were genotyped for five of the SNPs showing the highest association with phenotypic sex. From the expanded data set, SNPs Oni23063 and Oni28137 showed the highest association, which persisted both in the case of family and population data. Across the entire dataset all females were found to be homozygous for these two SNPs. Males were heterozygous, with the exception of five individuals in the population and two in the family dataset. These fish possessed the homozygous genotype expected of females. Progeny sex ratios (over 95% females) from two of the males with the "female" genotype indicated that they were neomales (XX males). Sex reversal induced by elevated temperature during sexual differentiation also resulted in phenotypic males with the "female" genotype. This study narrows down the region containing the main sex-determining locus, and provides genetic markers tightly linked to this locus, with an association that persisted across the population. These markers will be of use in refining the production of genetically male O. niloticus for aquaculture.
Aquaculture contributed 43 per cent of aquatic animal food for human consumption in 2007 (e.g. fish, crustaceans and molluscs, but excluding mammals, reptiles and aquatic plants) and is expected to grow further to meet the future demand. It is very diverse and, contrary to many perceptions, dominated by shellfish and herbivorous and omnivorous pond fish either entirely or partly utilizing natural productivity. The rapid growth in the production of carnivorous species such as salmon, shrimp and catfish has been driven by globalizing trade and favourable economics of larger scale intensive farming. Most aquaculture systems rely on low/uncosted environmental goods and services, so a critical issue for the future is whether these are brought into company accounts and the consequent effects this would have on production economics. Failing that, increased competition for natural resources will force governments to allocate strategically or leave the market to determine their use depending on activities that can extract the highest value. Further uncertainties include the impact of climate change, future fisheries supplies (for competition and feed supply), practical limits in terms of scale and in the economics of integration and the development and acceptability of new bio-engineering technologies. In the medium term, increased output is likely to require expansion in new environments, further intensification and efficiency gains for more sustainable and cost-effective production. The trend towards enhanced intensive systems with key monocultures remains strong and, at least for the foreseeable future, will be a significant contributor to future supplies. Dependence on external feeds (including fish), water and energy are key issues. Some new species will enter production and policies that support the reduction of resource footprints and improve integration could lead to new developments as well as reversing decline in some more traditional systems.
Silicon nitride thin films play an important role in the realization of sensors, filters, and high-performance circuits. Estimates of the dielectric function in the far- and mid-IR regime are derived from the observed transmittance spectra for a commonly employed low-stress silicon nitride formulation. The experimental, modeling, and numerical methods used to extract the dielectric parameters with an accuracy of approximately 4% are presented.
In Scotland and elsewhere, there are concerns that escaped farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) may impact on wild salmon stocks. Potential detrimental effects could arise through disease spread, competition, or inter-breeding. We investigated whether there is evidence of a direct effect of recorded salmon escape events on wild stocks in Scotland using anglers counts of caught salmon (classified as wild or farmed) and sea trout (Salmo trutta L.). This tests specifically whether documented escape events can be associated with reduced or elevated escapes detected in the catch over a five-year time window, after accounting for overall variation between areas and years. Alternate model frameworks were somewhat inconsistent, however no robust association was found between documented escape events and higher proportion of farm-origin salmon in anglers catch, nor with overall catch size. A weak positive correlation was found between local escapes and subsequent sea trout catch. This is in the opposite direction to what would be expected if salmon escapes negatively affected wild fish numbers. Our approach specifically investigated documented escape events, contrasting with earlier studies examining potentially wider effects of salmon farming on wild catch size. This approach is more conservative, but alleviates some potential sources of confounding, which are always of concern in observational studies. Successful analysis of anglers reports of escaped farmed salmon requires high data quality, particularly since reports of farmed salmon are a relatively rare event in the Scottish data. Therefore, as part of our analysis, we reviewed studies of potential sensitivity and specificity of determination of farmed origin. Specificity estimates are generally high in the literature, making an analysis of the form we have performed feasible.
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