[Thanks to Gabriela del Valle Pignataro for this message..... Note, Don Doering has informed us that there was a typing mistake in his message of 25 September. The last sentence of the 6th paragraph read "The time and risk of genetic improvement is so significant that private sector investment has NOT been lacking and many of the private breeding programs are unsophisticated or began from an already limited genetic base." The word NOT should be removed. This has been corrected in the online version.......Moderator]
This is from Gabriela del Valle Pignataro from Mexico. Research Centre for Food and Development (CIAD), Aquaculture and Environmental Management Division.
I much agree with Glenn Ashton´s point of view (Sept. 25), in reference to the great risk involved in introducing non-native species (either genetically modified or not) into foreign habitats. As stated (by him and others in the Conference), establishing regulatory and monitoring systems with the required strictness is not possible in developing countries (in most cases), due to factors such as low economic priority, lack of qualified personnel, etc.
Therefore, I would like to bring out for discussion the possibility of implementing domestication, culture methods and (eventually) breeding programs for those NATIVE SPECIES that are already being exploited (often over-exploited) by local fisheries, have good consumer acceptance and consequently are prone to reach a commercial level through various investment sources.
In particular, our efforts are directed to those marine fish species that cover the above mentioned criteria, with initial economic support coming from the public sector in order to have the governmental research centers (like ours) gather the basic experimental information. The second step is now being to scale the culture to a "pilot level" (with partial private sector investment) while at the same time conduct selective breeding assisted by "mid-tech" biotechnologies like chromosome manipulation (gynogenetic-androgenetic and clonal fish production), in which no foreign material is being introduced to the genome (therefore reducing much of the risk of potential environmental damage).
[Gynogenesis is female parthenogenesis, where, after fertilisation, the male nucleus is eliminated and the haploid individual has the maternal genome only. Androgenesis is male parthenogenesis, where the female nucleus is eliminated or inactivated and the haploid individual contains the paternal genome.....Moderator]
Details on how the program is planned to progress, would not be adequate for the Forum´s objective. I´d just like to conclude that given the condition of choosing native species, much can be done to improve performance traits through selective breeding combined with biotechnologies that, although "temporarily" reducing variation, will permit the fixation of the desired traits, producing superior strains in a relatively short number of generations.
Gabriela del Valle Pignataro, Ph.D.
Fish Genetics and Breeding.
[To contribute to this conference, send your message to [email protected] For further information on the FAO Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture see http://www.fao.org/biotech/forum.asp ]