Lynx Therapeutics, Inc. and GenoMar ASA of Norway announced they will use Lynx's Megasort(TM) technology to identify genes associated with saltwater tolerance in the tropical fin fish, Tilapia, one of the most widely farmed species in aquaculture. Although Tilapia is currently farmed in freshwater, genes identified through this collaboration could be instrumental in accelerating the breeding of Tilapia suitable for saltwater farming environments around the world, thus increasing the availability globally to farm this valuable fish.
``GenoMar is excited about the opportunity to employ Lynx's powerful technologies to detect differential gene expression patterns with greater speed and precision, thus, strengthening our breeding programs,'' stated Dr. Oystein Lie, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GenoMar. ``This collaborative research agreement could provide great insight into the genetic mechanisms behind commercially important traits in Tilapia, a fish viewed in the aquaculture industry as the 'aquatic chicken.' GenoMar, with its leading position as a life science-based aqua breeding enterprise, is looking forward to providing Lynx with an interesting market gateway to a new and fast growing industry.''
Under the terms of the agreement, GenoMar will provide Lynx with RNA samples from Tilapia raised in either freshwater or saltwater, which will then be compared using Lynx's Megasort(TM) technology. Genes associated with growth in saltwater are expected to provide economically important tools in improving the performance of farmed fish through selective breeding.
Lynx will receive payments from GenoMar for performing genomics discovery services. No other financial terms of the agreement were disclosed.
``We are delighted that GenoMar, a global leader in marine genomics and genetics, has chosen Lynx's technologies to enhance its expertise in this area of growing need and importance,'' stated Dr. Norrie Russell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lynx. ``We believe that the application of Lynx's technologies to aquaculture further displays the broad commercial breadth and reach of our products.''
Tilapia is believed to be the most important white fish in aquaculture, and farming of Tilapia is growing rapidly to meet demand for food protein. Additionally, fish farming is expected to provide a growing percentage of the worldwide fish supply over the next 20 years. While Tilapia remains an important source of food protein to populations in developing nations, farming and consumption are rapidly increasing in the U.S., with sales of Tilapia exceeding that of trout every year since 1995.