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Cod Broodstock Development - Genetic Selection/Pedigree Program



Success with the ACRDP funded Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) broodstock development project (2001-05) has led to increased knowledge of husbandry and environmental manipulation in captive cod broodstock. This knowledge has enabled industry to produce eggs throughout the entire year, allowing maximum use of hatching and rearing facilities. In order for the industry to gain further advantage, the next crucial step is to embark upon a genetic selection project. Thus far, the development of cod broodstock has been based on captive broodstock fish derived from unselected wild-caught adult cod. The ability to identify and select parental fish which produce the offspring exhibiting the most desirable characteristics will further advance the industry by producing the best quality fish possible, and allowing for the selection of broodstock animals which produce these optimal offspring. Pedigree programs have been the cornerstone in the agriculture industry for years, allowing for the selection of broodstock animals which produce the best offspring for market.

Valued traits such as optimal growth, disease resistance, environmental tolerance, survival, and delayed maturation, if determined to be heritable, can be selected to produce an elite cod broodstock. Difficulties with traits such as these have been some of the limiting factors in the progression of the cod industry throughout Atlantic Canada.

The current ACRDP funded genetic selection project with industry partner, Northern Cod Ventures (NCV) focuses on the development of paired mating protocols for broodstock cod in Newfoundland and subsequent early family rearing. The project is working in conjunction with the recently announced Genome Atlantic project on Atlantic cod genomics and broodstock development funded through Genome Canada. The Genome project will continue the cod growth cycle investigations by focusing on the family effect on larval, juvenile and final product quality analysis. For further information on the cod genome project please visit . The ACRDP cod genetic selection project provides valuable information by focusing on broodstock improvements for developing paired mating protocols in Atlantic cod, expanding on and developing new knowledge and expertise acquired by the group from the previous ACRDP cod broodstock project. The Genome Canada group as a whole, including ACRDP, will determine and develop an elite cod broodstock based on desired and heritable traits, further enhancing the development of this species for aquaculture.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2005 - 2009


Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves

Principal Investigator(s)

Lynn Lush

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