Xelect is working on a genetic analysis project in East Africa Photo: XelectXelect is working on a genetic analysis project in East Africa Photo: Xelect

Xelect has completed a genetic analysis project supported by Msingi East Africa aimed at enabling genetic selective breeding in tilapia operations in Kenya and Uganda.

The project is a significant step forward in sustainable aquaculture in the area and began with Xelect’s experts providing the partner farms with on-the-ground training in the best methods to take tissue samples.

The samples were then brought back to Xelect’s laboratory in Scotland for DNA extraction and genetic analysis. This data will help East African Tilapia producers create long-term, sustainable breeding programme plans.

Operations director, Dr Tom Ashton, who visited the teams in Kenya earlier this year, said, “We’re delighted to be working with East African tilapia hatcheries. We’re now a major step closer to helping with regional food stability for the area.”

The St Andrews based laboratory has secured six new partnerships in recent months and the company has recently announced an expansion of its breeding programme management team.

Chief executive, Professor Ian Johnston, believes this growth is due to an increasing maturity in the market. “With so much inward investment in the industry we’ve reached a tipping point,” he said. “We believe the market will ultimately fracture into major producers, using the latest genetics best practice and smaller local operations.”

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