Planned cryopreservation for farmed aquatic species

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The initiative falls under the statutory research tasks of the Netherlands Center for Genetic Resources (CGN) and the first samples of the flat oyster have already been collected for DNA research, according to Wageningen University and Research.

The following species will be monitored in the coming years:

  • Crassostrea gigas (Pacific oyster)
  • Ostrea edulis (flat oyster)
  • Mytilus edulis (mussel)
  • Anguilla anguilla (European eel)
  • Scopthalmus maximus (Psetta maxima) (turbot)
  • Lucioperque sander (zander)
  • Saccharina latissima (sugar kelp)
  • Ulva spp. (sea lettuce)
  • Laminaria digitata (rowing grass)
  • Undaria pinnatifida (wakame; it is an exotic species, which has a permanent
    settled in the Netherlands)

Sampling will take place at selected locations in the Netherlands and analyzes of the DNA data will provide insight into the genetic diversity of the population or populations of selected species living in Dutch waters.

The program also offers the possibility of storing genetic material for the long-term safeguard of genetic diversity, as is already the case for other animal species and the gene bank for plant and crop seeds. For this, exploratory research is first carried out on the cryopreservation protocols (freezing under nitrogen) available for the aquatic species concerned. Furthermore, whether and how cooperation with commercial aquaculture production companies and with research groups would be possible will be explored.

The rationale for the project

Initial aquaculture stocks are often still obtained from wild populations. Therefore, it is important to monitor the genetic diversity of wild populations of the aquatic species concerned.

In 2021, the Netherlands has made an international commitment to the implementation of the FAO Global Plan of Action (MAP) for the conservation and sustainable use of aquatic genetic resources. In anticipation of this, the CGN has already prepared a Dutch country reportan inventory of aquatic genetic resources, in 2017 at the request of the FAO and commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV).

As an extension of this country report, the CGN then conducted a survey, also commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, on which statutory research tasks should be prioritized for aquatic genetic resources.

The project will explore the genetic tests available for the species concerned and protocols will then be developed before genetic monitoring can begin. The implementation of the design and the actual monitoring of genetic resources will not be the same for all species. Where possible, cooperation will take place within the infrastructure and expertise of the Fisheries Research Center (CVO).

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