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The foundation of the European catfish (Silurus glanis) ex situ live gene bank for selective breeding purposes

The European catfish is mainly an incremental fish in the Hungarian aquaculture production however, based on its meat quality, growth rate, ability to tolerate intensive technology and market position this native fish species is a promising candidate to broaden the variety of the Hungarian aquaculture production. For the more intensive production with higher volume, beside the requirement of technological development, the breeding becomes more emphasized. In order to establish an effective founder stock for breeding purposes, it is essential to achieve high genetic variability and number among the individuals in the founder stock. To realize this requirement it is worth to gather individuals from different mainly natural (wild) populations that expedient to collect from different geographical areas to increase the chance to achieve higher genetic distance among the populations. The resultant European catfish live gene bank (population collection) ensures the basis for the genetic improvement of the species.

Individuals from two different Hungarian populations were collected tagged and sampled (DNA) so far. The target is to collect wild individuals from the neighboring countries and from further geographical distances.

To start the breeding work and the performance tests at least individuals from four to five populations with different origin has to be collected.

Hereinafter, population genetic profiling is planned on the gathered individuals from different populations based on data form microsatellite markers.

When the required number of populations are collected and maintained in the live gene bank the artificial propagation (breeding) can be started within the populations (pure stock) and between the populations (crossed stocks). The offspring stocks (families) will be pooled by equal contribution and tested in two different intensive rearing technologies: intensive closed system and intensive pond culture. The planned rearing period is two years therefore, at the end of the first and second rearing season the stocks will be tagged, measured and sampled. By parentage assignment based on microsatellite markers the best performing (growth and survival) families can be selected for further improvement.