Exploring the Genetic Variety of Common Carp in Breeding Programs

Greg Howard
21st April, 2024

Exploring the Genetic Variety of Common Carp in Breeding Programs

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Scientists in India are breeding a salt-tolerant strain of common carp for sustainable aquaculture
  • The study used body measurements and DNA analysis to identify genetic diversity among carp stocks
  • Findings will help select the best candidates for breeding carp that can thrive in saline waters
In the face of a rapidly growing global population, the demand for food, particularly protein sources, is on the rise. One sustainable method to meet this demand is through aquaculture, the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish. However, inland saline aquaculture, which involves the farming of fish in saline (salty) water bodies, faces challenges. Saline environments can be harsh and not all fish species thrive in them. Moreover, soil salinization, a process where water used for irrigation leaves behind salts on the land, is a growing concern. This can degrade soils and affect agricultural productivity, including aquaculture[2]. To combat these issues, scientists at the ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Education are working on a selective breeding program to develop a strain of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that is well-suited for these saline conditions[1]. The common carp is a versatile and widely farmed species, known for its adaptability to different environments. However, not all carp are created equal when it comes to surviving and thriving in saline waters. The study assessed the genetic diversity of common carp stocks from various regions of India, with the goal of identifying the most promising candidates for breeding a salt-tolerant strain. To understand the genetic diversity of these carp populations, researchers used two main methods. First, they captured images of 600 fish and used truss morphometry, which involves measuring the distances between specific points, or landmarks, on the fish body. This method helps to quantify the physical diversity between fish from different stocks. The researchers digitized these images and analyzed them using specialized software, which revealed distinct stock-wise and sex-wise groupings based on physical characteristics. Secondly, the study delved into the genetic makeup of the carp by examining their mitochondrial DNA (D-loop) sequences. Mitochondrial DNA is often used in genetic studies because it can reveal information about a population's history and diversity. The team analyzed 169 samples and found varying levels of genetic diversity among the different stocks, with one stock from Madhya Pradesh showing the highest number of unique genetic variations, or haplotypes. The findings from these analyses are crucial. Not only do they provide a clear picture of the existing genetic diversity among Indian common carp stocks, but they also form the foundation for a breeding program. By understanding both the physical and genetic variations, breeders can select the best candidates that are likely to thrive in saline waters, thus supporting sustainable aquaculture practices. This research is particularly significant as it addresses several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, including 'Zero Hunger' (SDG2) and 'Life on Land' (SDG15)[2]. By developing salt-tolerant carp strains, we can make better use of inland saline waters for aquaculture, which in turn could help alleviate pressure on soil resources affected by salinization. The study's approach to managing environmental problems aligns with the recommendations from earlier research[2], which emphasized the need for comprehensive and inclusive methods to tackle soil salinization. The selective breeding program not only contributes to managing the salinity in aquatic environments but also complements better irrigation practices and cropping systems that can prevent soil degradation. In conclusion, the research conducted by the ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Education is a step forward in addressing the dual challenges of food security and environmental sustainability. By harnessing the power of genetic diversity and selective breeding, we can develop resilient aquaculture systems that are both productive and environmentally friendly. As the world continues to grapple with the effects of soil salinization and the need for more sustainable food sources, such innovative research provides hope and a potential blueprint for the future.

GeneticsAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Genetic diversity of common carp Cyprinus carpio in the base population of a selective breeding programme in India

Published 18th April, 2024


Related Studies

2) Soil salinization management for sustainable development: A review.


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