Genetic improvement with specific reference to tilapia genetic resources in Africa and their use in aquaculture - potential benefits and risks.

In comparison to the rest of the world, aquaculture in Africa is fairly insignificant. The continent as a whole contributed a mere 0.9 per cent (404 571 t) to the total world aquaculture production in 2000. The African continent, however, exhibits considerable potential in terms of land and water and in regard to inland, coastal and offshore resources. Genetic improvement of tilapias has a role to play in order to increase aquaculture production. Promotion of such methods as selective breeding, hybridization, chromosome manipulation and gene transfer will help in improving aquaculture production. However, there are controversial issues that must be addressed so that genetic improvement should not compromise the conservation of biological diversity in the wild as well as in aquaculture. This is particularly important for tilapias in Africa where the species are indigenous and need to be conserved. Simple selective breeding of indigenous species within their natural zoogeographical zones would, therefore, offer great opportunity in African aquaculture, so that yield improvement is attained without causing signifi cant genetic deterioration of the wild populations.


Ambali, A.J.D., Malekano, L.B. (2004)
Use of genetically improved and alien species for aquaculture and conservation of aquatic biodiversity in Africa