Genetic diversity in wild stocks of the giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii): implications for aquaculture and conservation

The giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) is cultured widely around the world but little is known about the levels and patterns of genetic diversity in either wild or cultured stocks. Studies have suggested that genetic diversity may be relatively low in some cultured stocks due to the history of how they were founded and subsequent exposure to repeated population bottlenecks in hatcheries. In contrast, wild stocks have an extensive distribution that extends from Southern Asia across Southeast (SE) Asia to the Pacific region. Therefore, wild stocks could be an important resource for genetic improvement of culture stocks in the future. Understanding the extent and patterns of genetic diversity in wild giant freshwater prawn stocks will assist decisions about the direction future breeding programs may take. Wild stock genetic diversity was examined using a 472 base-pair segment of the 16S rRNA gene in 18 wild populations collected from across the natural range of the species. Two major clades ("eastern" and "western") were identifi ed either side of Huxley’s line, with a minimum divergence of 6.2 per cent, which implies separation since the Miocene period (5-10 MYA). While divergence estimates within major clades was small (maximum 0.9 per cent), evidence was also found for population structuring at a lower spatial scale. This will be examined more intensively with a faster evolving mtDNA gene in the future.


Mather, P.B., de Bruyn, M. (2003)
NAGA 26(4): 4-7