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Sent: 04 December 2003 10:38
Subject: 63: Marker technologies aquaculture, some thoughts....
My name is Victor Martinez, from the Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Chile.
Application of markers and DNA technologies for improvement, I believe is still scarce in aquaculture, even in developed countries. I think that this is due, to some extent, to the lack of adequate integration between quantitative and molecular genetics in this area (see symposia of genetics in aquaculture). [I presume the reference is to the VIIIth International Symposium Genetics in Aquaculture, held in Puerto Varas, Chile, 9-15 November 2003 (http://www.genaqua.uchile.cl/). The proceedings will be published in the international journal Aquaculture, as a special issue...Moderator].
I think that the only succesful application of marker technology has been described previously by Miguel Toro (Message 50, November 27) in reference to the inference of parentage analysis for pedigree selection. But profit analysis of this technology compared to individual identification using passive integrated transponders are still scarce. [Passive integrated transponders (also called PIT tags) are implanted electronic devices allowing identification of individual fish as they pass by a transponder sensing device. PIT tags were developed initially to mark fish and since have been used to mark a range of wild and captive animal species...Moderator].
Despite all this, I do not think that the methods used for livestock regarding MAS or GAS (gene assisted selection) will depart significantly for aquaculture (see the paper of Villanueva et al 2001, methods and comparisons between BLUP, MAS and GAS). Our analyses (Martinez, 2003, PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh) have shown that due to the extremely high fecundity rates, coupled with the use of chromosomal manipulations. novel and more powerful designs can be used in aquaculture compared to livestock. [The paper referred to above is Beatriz Villanueva et al. 2002. "Marker assisted selection with optimised contributions of the candidates to selection". Genetics Selection Evolution 34: 679-703, available at http://www.edpsciences.org/articles/gse/pdf/2002/06/03.pdf ...Moderator].
Victor Martinez MSc. PhD.
Department of Animal Science.
Faculty of Veterinary Sciences
University of Chile.
Phone 0056- 2 - 678 5597
Fax 0056 - 2 - 678 5611
vmartine (at) uchile.cl
Sent: 04 December 2003 10:56
Subject: 64: Fusion of soft and hard technologies
From Olusola Sokefun, Nigeria.
I have followed with interest all issues raised so far and would like to comment as such. I want to divide technology in the area of plants, animals etc. into two parts: the first being the soft technologies and the second being the hard technologies. This division is just for the purposes of being able to follow my line of thought.
The soft technologies I note are as old as manhood and the quest of man to conquer the vagaries of animal production/domestication, plant etc. They include the use of top of the lines to produce the next generation of offspring and modern science calls this selection. I remember in the village, my grandfather would say that a particular cock should not be allowed to mount a hen or that a particular hen has good mothering ability because it hatches maybe ten chicks and they were all cared for without loss.
Hard technologies would include MAS, which is the main issue in this conference. I would define it as technological types that tend to be out of the ordinary (all the definitions are mine).
I note rather importantly that there is no way the hard technologies would totally replace the soft technologies and that for the developing world and the developed, the best that we can have is a fusion of both to achieve the best of results.
Finally, maybe this is not the best place to put this, but please pardon me if I have erred in anyway. I just emerged from a meeting as part of a technical group which has as its focus the development of agriculture. We URGENTLY need firms or individuals that can assist on a fee for service basis in the following general and specific areas of agriculture: 1. plant propogation - food crops, ornamentals, cash crops etc. through tissue culture or any other more advanced means 2. animal propagation - micro and macro livestock, large and small ruminants, monogastrics etc. I would appreciate feedback on this urgently. [This conference IS not the appropriate place for it. Any responses on this should be addressed directly to Olusola...Moderator].
The Bioscience Research Centre,
Lagos State University, Ojo
PMB 1087 Apapa,
Tel: + 234 8033335175
osokefun (at) hotmail.com
Sent: 04 December 2003 14:37
Subject: 65: Participation of developing countries in MAS development
I am Victor Olori, again.
In response to the Moderator's half way message (1 December), I would like to address the question of "When should developing countries play an active role in the development of MAS technology (construction of molecular marker maps, detection of association between molecular markers and traits of interest etc.) or when, instead, should they aim to import the technology developed elsewhere?").
The answer to this question depends on exactly what we mean by 'developing countries'. I think individuals and institutions in developing countries are, and should be, playing active roles in the development of MAS right now. From the contributions to this conference received so far, there are many scientists from, and in, developing countries with experience in MAS techniques and many more are probably students or postdocs in laboratories across the world today. There are those in labs in the developing countries that are collaborating actively with others in developed countries. I call this active participation. Often times, this contribution is limited because of limited resources and perhaps to few institutions with extensive research capabilities and mandate. Places like ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), IITA (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture) for example.
If by "developing countries", we are referring to getting governments to purposely fund direct research and application of MAS, then the answer is different and perhaps that is the whole purpose of this conference. I think MAS would have to be seen to be possible, efficient and required before these countries can commit and justify the required huge resources. My understanding of the discussion so far is that;1) MAS is possible and will be useful in developing countries.
Under these circumstances, I would suggest that developing countries should at present be putting the building blocks for MAS in place. Application of MAS requires first and foremost the training of personnel. One thing developing countries and the governments of these countries can do right now is to fund Educational Institutions to put in place the required facilities and training programs to support research in biotechnology and particularly genetics research. I see these institutions as the sustainable units that will nurture the culture of breed improvement and the introduction of 'hard technologies' (as Olusola Sokefun in message 64 (December 4) describes technologies like MAS) into structured breeding programs. The role of educational and research institutions in the developed countries in this regard cannot be over emphasised and, whether MAS eventually becomes the panacea for plant and livestock improvement in these countries or not, the facilities and personnel will always be useful for other purposes and as such are an asset. Also, it is easy to justify funding for education, and development of MAS can be a residual of such educational development. This will also allow them to "import the technology" when it can be justified.
Dr. V.E. Olori
Irish Cattle Breeding Federation,
Shinagh House, Bandon,
Republic of Ireland.
Tel: +353 (23) 20220
Fax +353(23) 20229
E-Mail volori (at) icbf.com
Sent: 04 December 2003 16:40
Subject: 66: Is MAS a little luxurious for developing countries?
This is Nazimi Acikgoz from Turkey. I am a rice breeder and moderator of a monthly, bilingual agricultural biotechnology newsletter: (http://www.agbiyotek.ege.edu.tr).
Recent drops in "yearly yield increase" indicate that plant breeding is approaching its theoretical limits. But quality seems to be focused more intensively on the future. This is valid only for the developed world. Can we claim the same for developing countries? I'm afraid we cannot say that - there is not enough suitable varieties improved for every micro-ecology yet. The main reason is an organizational issue. Agricultural research in developing countries is not well coordinated and many scientists lean towards biotechnology, especially MAS studies. Scientists are forced to cut back on field work for a number of reasons (including limited sources, caused by national coordination defect) and tend to work in laboratories.
We had the same paradox 20-30 years ago. The "population genetics" studies were quite popular. I just wonder whether my "correlated response studies on rice" have contributed to my released varieties! How did those academic studies effect "to the new cultivars hunger" agriculture? (in Turkey a cultivar namely TOKAK, released in 1937, is still in the seed market). [Some additional information has been provided by Nazimi Acikgoz about this. He adds "Where "Genotype by Environment" interaction is existing, we have to provide a new cultivar to those environments. Every agricultural micro ecology is in need of a new genotype. Iím afraid we did not conduct any proper yield trial in such micro ecology yet. In Italy, for a single macro ecology (Po valley), there are more than 40 rice cultivars. In Turkey, we grow rice in 12 macro ecologies and we have only 15 released varieties. For some special micro ecologies we have to improve new genotypes...Moderator].
Now, concerning Dirk-Jan de Koning's message (number 20, November 20): "Rather than a commercial national/regional framework, I remain convinced that any form of MAS for the developing world will depend heavily on sponsored international collaborative efforts", this MAS issue seems to be quite a luxury for developing countries.
I wish that FAO should focus on the effective use of plant breeding activities in national or regional level, in the first place. Coordinated and collaborative research organization attempts should be considered before basic scientific issues.
Breeding of new varieties to meet the needs of recently established consumption systems (frozen food industry; bakery, pickles, jam, paste, etc...) or changing agricultural conditions force all plant scientists to first find out the desired genes. The success story of the "Clearfield system" starts with mutant resistance genes proving that even developed countries are in need of classical breeding activities. Characterization of existing genetic material has been neglected not only in developing countries. Proper organization of "agricultural research systems" in least developed countries (LDCs) should have priority for FAO. This luxurious MAS occupation keeps scientists, especially plant breeders in developing countries, from doing their real job. Because some scientists without any traditional breeding programs enter directly into MAS. [Clearfield varieties display herbicide-tolerance and were developed through a breeding technique known as seed mutagenesis...Moderator].
Prof. Dr. Nazimi Acikgoz
Ege Uni. Seed Technology Center
nacikgoz (at) ziraat.ege.edu.tr
Sent: 04 December 2003 16:56
Subject: 67: Costs of genotyping
I am Miguel Toro again.
With respect to the cost of genotyping, the figure that many people quote is about 1 dollar (or euro) per microsatellite and individual (this means that the genotying of 1,000 individuals for 20 markers will cost $ 20,000, a considerable amount of money). Is this value correct? I have also heard that new technologies are coming that could reduce the cost to about $ 0.25. If that is the case, the prospective for using MAS will certainly increase.
Finally, I think that the genotyping task hardly can be considered a research task. Are there companies that offer to do the genotyping (of which species?) at a reasonable cost? I am thinking of using markers as a source of information without bothering too much about gene detection (along the line suggested by Lande and Thompson, Hayes and Goddard etc). Probably the most sensible thing to do is to carry on with mapping projects using research funds (and on a collaborative basis) and promote companies that do the large scale genotyping at competitive prices.
Miguel Angel Toro Ibanez
Departamento de Mejora Genetica Animal
Instituto Nacional de Investigacion y Tecnologia Agraria y Agroalimentaria (INIA)
Carretera La Coruna km. 7
Telf: 34 913476807
Fax: 34 913572293
e-mail: toro (at) inia.es