High demand for genetic improvement programs drives the expansion of the breeding team at the Center for Aquaculture Technologies

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By Milthon Lujan

The Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT), experts in aquatic animal genetics, is responding to increasing demand by adding leading scientists to their Breeding team. Dr. Peter Kube, Carlos Pulgarin, and Jeffrey Prochaska will contribute to the expansion of innovative commercial genetic improvement programs for worldwide clients.

Dr. Peter Kube, the newly appointed Senior Quantitative Geneticist, has over seventeen years of experience in aquaculture genetics. In his previous role at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Peter oversaw the inception of applied breeding programs for a variety of aquatic species – including Atlantic salmon, Pacific oyster, and abalone – and their transition to data-rich programs boosted by modern DNA tools. “Data is the heart of applied breeding, it is fuel for decisions”, says Dr. Kube. “Collecting data and turning it into metrics helps producers find a balance between diversity and genetic improvement.”


Jeffrey Prochaska and Carlos Pulgarin, who have joined CAT as Breeding Scientists, agree that historical data eliminates boundaries for aquaculture breeding. Jeff Prochaska who has nearly twenty years of experience coordinating information exchange between geneticists and breeders says: “Environmental variability, the size and number of animals in stock, and varying life cycles all pose a challenge for aquaculture producers. Acquiring data over multiple generations will lead the way to accelerated genetic improvement in stock, which is key to reducing the cost of production and increasing profitability.”

Having provided technical support and breeding advice to aquaculture producers for over twelve years, Carlos Pulgarin adds that there is a tremendous opportunity: “Many aquatic animals have commercial potential for farming. Working with diverse species, collecting and analyzing breeding information allows CAT to help producers breed strains that deliver great benefit to consumers and require fewer resources for production.”

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The Director of Genomics and Breeding, Dr. Klara Verbyla says: “I am thrilled to have Jeff, Carlos and Peter joining our team. Collectively, they bring years of experience and expertise in the application of genetic improvement to a diverse range of aquatic species and further enhance the breeding teams’ expertise. With the team growing, we are immensely excited about the potential to accelerate CAT’s ability to create real impact across the aquaculture sector through breeding.”

The Center for Aquaculture Technologies is driving the growth of their genetics business by hiring world-class scientists and continuously investing in their best-in-class genotyping, genomics, and breeding teams.

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