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MetaMorphix Starts Aquaculture Venture with Stirius

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Animal genetics companies MetaMorphix (MMI) and Stirius have teamed to form AquaAnimal Health, a joint venture that will use MMI's biomarker-based technology to sustain certain characteristics in aquaculture animals such as finfish and crustaceans.

Under the agreement, MMI has granted AcquAnimal Health a license to its proprietary Myostatin technology and an option to its Genius Whole Genome System for use in aquaculture applications.

MMI sells test kits for meat quality and production efficiency traits, and one of its lead platforms is based on Myostatin, a protein regulator of muscle growth that has been identified in over 40 fish species and in aquatic invertebrates such as shrimp, scallops, and crabs.

MMI said today that its test kit technologies, already used for ensuring meat quality and production efficiency traits, will increase aquaculture productivity and increase disease resistance.

The new products that AquaAnimal Health plans to use, MyoAqua I and II, are expected to lower feed consumption ratios and increase aquaculture profits, Beltsville, Md.-based MMI said.

"We feel marker-assisted selection will allow breeders to identify aquaculture species with superior traits, thereby improving quality and production efficiency," MMI President and CEO Edwin Quattlebaum said in a statement.

AquaAnimal Health is currently evaluating sites in South Carolina to establish process development and aquaculture research laboratories.

Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

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