Latin American & Caribbean Aquaculture 2023

April 18 - 21, 2023

Panama City, Panama


Carlos Pulgarin* Adriana Artiles, Klara Verbyla, Peter Kube, Jeff Prochaska, Marcos De Donato, Alan Tinch, John Buchanan

Carlos Pulgarin

1. The Center for Aquaculture Technologies. 8445 Camino Santa Fe. Suite 104. San Diego, CA, 92121. USA.


Selective Breeding is the process of improving one or more desirable traits of a cultured species through the selection of superior parents for the next generation. A breeding program is the implementation of a selective breeding strategy and the set of tools needed to deliver the desired outcomes. The approach selected should be designed to maximize the economic return by balancing input costs and with the expected genetic and economic gains for a commercial aquaculture producer.

In this talk we will discuss the general concepts and common strategies for shrimp breeding program management, from the simplest requiring the least amount of investment to the more complex with more investment required but greater genetic gains delivered. The aim of the talk is to provide aquaculture producers with the key elements to enable the informed assessment of the options for new or improved breeding program designs, and how they can tailor their program and genetic gains to their needs. The three general options for enhanced selective breeding management in shrimp are: 1) Mass Selection managing diversity and inbreeding, 2) Family based selection and 3) Genomic Selection. These management strategies should be used to build upon a good genetic foundation. It is recommended to assess the genetic base at the beginning, or before changing the strategy, of any breeding program.  Key to assessing genetic diversity and to more sophisticated breeding strategies are genomic tools. The recent development of industry-wide, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping panels from 200 to 50,000 SNPs provides access to such tools at a very reasonable cost. When jumping from the basic to the complex, investment can be expected to increase with the need for genotyping, tagging equipment and supplies, more complex data collection, organization, and analyses, in addition to the training of personnel.  While it is possible to change from a mass selection program directly to a genomic selection program, or to transition to a family-based plan on the journey to increased genetic progress. In all cases, training of personnel, and staged build-up of infrastructure and capabilities will be part of the process.

In summary, there are multiple options for enhanced selective breeding program management, each requiring different inputs and investment with varying potential returns and gains. Key to the selection of a genetic improvement design is the consideration of individual program’s breeding goals, capacity, and available budget as well as the selection of the appropriate tools to support such a design.