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Selection In Aquaculture

Sapto Andriyono
Departemen Kelautan
Selection entails choosing some individuals
from the population to produce more
offspring than others.
These individuals are selected from the
animals, which reach sexual maturation, as
only those, which can reproduce can affect
the future population.
Selection does not create new genes, but
rather changes gene frequencies.
The frequencies of alleles with favorable
effects on the phenotype under selection are
increased, and the frequency of less favorable
genes decreased.
If the purpose of selection is to improve a
production trait, the first step is to measure or
record this trait on all animals in the
population, and then estimate the average
and standard deviation.
Selection is then practiced by selecting those
animals, which have highest breeding values.
Kinds of Selection
Natural Selection
Artificial Selection
Natural Selection
The contribution of offspring to the next
generation is called the fitness of an
individual, adaptive value, or selective value
(Falconer and Mackay, 1996)
and fitness is the "character" that natural
selection selects for.
When environmental conditions change, the
fitness of existing genotypes may not be optimal
any longer. Animals, which have the highest
fitness in the current environment, will reproduce
at a higher level and have a higher survival rate
than less fit animals.
If changes in the environmental conditions
represent large changes and take place rapidly, a
population may be lost or destroyed because
natural selection has not been efficient enough to
adapt the population to the new conditions.
Articificial Selection
Man creates artificial selection in order to
change a population in the wanted direction.
However, at the same time the population will
continue to be affected by natural selection,
which may act in the same or in the opposite
direction as artificial selection.
Artificial selection may be performed in several
a: Animals with average performance are selected.
b: Extreme animals are selected and mated interse.
c: Animals with good performance in one direction
are selected.
Stabilising selection is practiced by selecting
phenotypes around the mean and discarding
extremes. The aim of stabilizing selection is to
standardize the population around an
average. It results in a fairly constant mean
with somewhat reduced variance for the trait
in question.
diversifying selection extremes: selected
parents in each extreme group were mated,
offspring variance would be increased and
eventually separate and distinct
subpopulations could emerge.
This method of selection is rarely used in
animal breeding.
The most common form of selection applied
in agriculture and aquaculture breeding
programs is directional selection
The aim is to improve traits of economic
importance. The effect of directional selection
for heritable traits is a change in gene
frequency at the loci affecting the trait in the
next generation.
Prediction of response to selection
The effect of directional artificial selection,
which is of particular interest to us, is the
change of population mean. This change is
called response to selection or genetic gain
and is symbolised by
is the average superiority of progenies of
selected parents compared to the generation
before selection.
Let us consider a population of tilapia with the
following parameters:
Body weight X = 500 g;
standard deviation TP = 150 g;
heritability h2 = 0.20;
selected as broodstock = 5 %
selection intensity, i = 2.063
The response to selection in relation to the average is:
Multiple trait selection
A selection program will usually focus on
several traits of economic importance.
There are basically three methods of selection
when several traits n are involved (Hazel and
Lush, 1942):
1. tandem selection
2. cull simultaneously
3. selection index or total score
tandem selection
In tandem selection the individual traits are
improved in succession.
Selection is carried out first for one trait, until
a desired genetic level is reached, then
selection for the second, third and following
traits are performed.
cull simultaneously
The second method is to cull simultaneously
but independently for each trait, a selection
strategy called independent culling levels.
Then a level is set for each trait which
represent the culling or selection level for
each trait.
selection index or total score.
The third method is to apply selection
simultaneously to all traits giving appropriate
economic weight, heritability, and phenotypic
and genetic correlations between the traits.
This method is called selection index or total
The tandem method is the least efficient of the
The selection index method is the most efficient
in terms of selection response in the direction
of the multiple trait breeding goal
Comparison of efficiencies of total-score method and tandem method relative to that of the
method of independent culling levels, where the n traits are uncorrelated and are equally
important. Reproduced from Hazel and Lush (1942) by permission of Oxford University Press
Selection response obtained
1. Disease Resistance
2. Growt Rate
3. Feed Convertion Efficiency
4. Date of Spawning
5. Sexual Maturation
Disease Resistance
One of the earliest documented experiments of
selection in fish was that of Embody and Hyford (1925).
These authors selected surviving brook trout from a
population with endemic furunculosis and increased
the survival rate from 2% in the initial population to
69% after three generations of selection.
Schaperclause (1962) report from a selection
experiment in common carp which showed an average
mortality rate of 11.5 % in 65 ponds stocked with
progeny of selected fish vs. 57 % in 76 ponds stocked
with progeny of non-selected fish.
the possibility of using correlated or marker traits in order
to increase the efficiency of selection for disease resistance
in fish.
Possible marker traits mentioned are immunological and
physiological parameters such as:
1. lysozyme (Lund et al., 1995),
2. haemolytic activity (Red et al., 1990; Red et al., 1992),
3. cortisol (Refstie, 1982),
4. IGM (Lund et al., 1995; Strmsheim, et al., 1994a),
5. Antibody titre (Lund et al., 1995; Strmsheim, et al.,
1994b), and
6. Plasma alfa2 - antiplasmin activity (Salte et al., 1993)
Growt Rate
There have been many experiments selecting
fish for rapid growth rates. Kincaid et al.
(1977) selected for increased body weight at
147 days post-fertilisation. The genetic gain
during three generations of selection was
0.98g or 5% gain per year.
Feed Convertion Efficiency
There have been no selection experiments
selecting for feed conversion efficiency as the
primary trait. Correlated responses in FCR
following selection for other traits have been
observed however.
Thodesen (1999a) report a correlated
response in feed conversion when selecting
for growth rate in Atlantic salmon.
Selection For Feed Conversion
Feed efficiency in fish becomes more important
when the production system is intensified, and
the feed cost might constitute more than 60% of
production cost as observed in intensive culture.
Further improvement of feed efficiency will
depend on whether it is possible to improve this
trait through selective breeding.
Feed efficiency in fish is usually expressed as
Feed conversion ratio (FCR, kg feed consumed
per kg weight gain)
Date of Spawning
Lewis (1944) reported response to selection in
early spawning, egg number and yearling weight.
Selection in rainbow trout over 23 years (6-7
generations) is reported to have had a large effect
on growth rate, egg production and early
spawning (Donaldsen and Olson, 1955).
In both these cases the reported response to
selection was confounded with environmental
changes because no control was maintained.
Sexual Maturation
In Nile tilapia, Longalong et al. (1999) conducted a bi-
directional selection experiment for early maturing
Sixteen pairs of breeders from families with a mean
frequency of 83% early maturing females (define early
maturing) and nine pairs of breeders, all from families with
0 % early maturing females, were selected as parents.
More than 3000 fingerlings from the 25 families were
tagged and communally stocked in three replicated ponds
for testing.
It is proposed that selection for delayed sexual maturation
should be included in breeding programs for Nile tilapia.
Effect of selection on domestication
Domestication is a process of adapting animals to
an environment created by man. Domestication is
a genetic process, which adapt the animals to the
new environment.
Many behavioral, physiological and
morphological components of the phenotype can
be changed through selection. In fish and
shellfish directional selection is usually applied to
improve economically important traits like
growth rate, disease resistance, age at maturity
and flesh quality.
effects of improved stocks
The production of GIFT and existing Nile tilapia strains
were assessed through on-farm experiments in a range
of aquaculture systems in Bangladesh, Peoples
Republic of China, the Philippines, Thailand and
Vietnam. GIFT fish were distributed after two
generations of selection
The results indicated that the cost of production per
unit fish produced is lower for the GIFT strain than for
the strain of non-GIFT; more than 30 % lower in
Bangladesh and the Philippines and about 20 % lower
in Peoples Republic of China, Thailand and Vietnam.
The estimated yield potential was more than 50 %
higher than that of the best existing strains
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