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AquaAnimal Health will use MetaMorphix technology and develop other new technology in the field of aquaculture. (Photo:MetaMorphix/NOAA)

Venture launched to genetically boost aquaculture breeding

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 00:30 (GMT + 9)

Animal genetics firm MetaMorphix, Inc (MMI) and Stirius, Inc announced last week their jointly formed AquaAnimal Health, Inc to develop aquaculture technologies to augment output and advance disease resistance in farmed marine animals like finfish and crustaceans. AquaAnimal Health will use MMI’s Myostatin technology to maintain and enhance fish and crustacean quality across all aquaculture breeding.

AquaAnimal Health is an aquaculture animal health firm that claims to dedicate itself to serving the rapidly growing global finfish and crustacean industry. MMI has given AquaAnimal Health a license to its proprietary Myostatin technology for an undisclosed sum and an option to also use its GENIUS Whole Genome SystemTM in aquaculture.

Myostatin is a natural protein and potent regulator of muscle growth in humans and animals, having been observed in over 40 species of fish and in profitable marine invertebrates such as shrimp, scallops and crab. Natural inhibition of this protein in finfish was recently shown to produce greater muscle protein and increase feed efficiency.

New products MyoAqua I and II are expected to lower feed consumption ratios while boosting aquaculture earnings.

"We believe that aquaculture answers many of the concerns in the pending world protein crisis as well as provides environmental advantages over beef, poultry and swine production," Stirius CEO Karl Kelly said.

MMI already sells test kits for meat quality and production efficiency traits validated on several hundred thousand commercial cattle. It is expected that MMI genomic technology will provide similar benefits in aquaculture.

"We feel marker-assisted selection will allow breeders to identify aquaculture species with superior traits, thereby improving quality and production efficiency," said MMI President and CEO Dr Edwin Quattlebaum.

AquaAnimal Health is now evaluating sites in South Carolina for the establishment of process development and aquaculture research laboratories.

MetaMorphix is a life sciences company that touts itself as dedicated to discovering and commercializing multiple technology platforms to improve human and animal health. It was founded in 1994 and has headquarters in Beltsville, MD and lab facilities in Davis, CA.

Stirius is located Ninety Six, South Carolina and was chartered in 1993 and supports emerging life science companies including biopharmaceuticals, animal genetics, agricultural biotechnology and biochemicals. The company assists in commercialization and product development for emerging companies in the US and worldwide.

Related article:

- Transgenic rainbow trout may revolutionize aquaculture

By Natalia Real


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