Dr Grace Chu-fang Lo, Chair and Professor, Department of Biotechnology & Bioindustry Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
White spot disease (WSD) is very difficult to control. The causative agent, WSSV (white spot syndrome virus) has many anti-host defense strategies. Despite our best efforts, WSD continues to spread to countries which were originally WSD-free. This suggests that we need to look beyond quarantine. By screening wild populations of P. monodon, our laboratory has successfully identified and bred WSSV-resistant shrimp. We have also found that the mutation sites associated with resistance appear to be different in different families as well as in shrimp from different geographical locations.
One important implication of this is that, unlike breeding programs that are limited to a single source population, non-exclusive collaboration agreements that give simultaneous access to different populations of shrimp should have a multiplicative effect that produces stronger resistance. To support the resistant shrimp through their complete life cycle, and produce F3 generations of resistant lines, we have established an indoor culture facility with a high level of biosecurity and a closed circulation water system. This system uses artificially intelligent control for water quality, light, and feeding. We also aim to use a gene stacking approach to breed P. monodon with additional desirable traits to enhance the commercial profitability of these shrimp.