The Star Malaysia - Star2
Collaborating genomics tech for precision breeding
MONASH University Malaysia and BioGenes Technologies Sdn Bhd signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on collaborative research to develop genomics technologies.
The MoA’s aim is to commercialise precision breeding programmes for the Malaysian Arowana industry.
With the industry currently facing challenges of falling prices due to oversupply, the integration of the latest genomics methods with existing fish breeding strategies will bring forth a transformation.
The arowana industry produces about 300,000 arowana fish annually for the ornamental aquarium trade, with an estimated value of more than RM200mil.
“We, at BioGenes, believe that developing and deploying genomic-based technological innovations will assist arowana breeders in reducing their production costs,” said chief executive officer Tang Kok Mun.
“It will also produce arowana fish of better and more precise quality and consistency.”
Under the MoA, Monash University Malaysia via its genomics facility will leverage on its expertise and research and development infrastructure to test samples and discover genetic markers that can be used to identify and classify arowana fish according to strain, colour, pedigree, gender, and other traits considered desirable by the industry.
BioGenes Technologies will look at generating industrydriven research outputs that will have positive commercial affects on the arowana industry.
They will also develop several tailored precision breeding programmes to meet the specific needs of individual arowana breeders, which would in turn enhance the efficiency of their farm and the quality of their particular strain of arowana fish.
Professor of tropical biology and head of genomics at Monash University Malaysia’s Tropical Medicine and Biology Multidisciplinary Research Programme Dr Christopher Austin said that the MoA marked the start of more industry-driven research for the university, in genomics and effective partnerships with industry with the potential to commercialise research outputs.
“This MoA, an extension of the Arowana Genome Project funded by Monash University, is a good example of how academic research with positive results can be extended to the benefit of a commercial sector, together with strong industry partners,” Prof Austin said.
He added that there were many examples of good research work being done in Malaysia, but what was often missing was the forming of effective partnerships between academia and the industry.
“By working with Biogenes Technologies, we have a partner with a shared vision and a set of values that can help take research from the lab bench to the real world,” he said. “Both parties will learn and benefit from the collaboration as well as produce positive results for the arowana industry.”
Biogenes Technologies Sdn Bhd specialises in the development and commercialisation of genomic-based technologies to provide solutions and taps into new opportunities in both the agriculture and aquaculture sectors. Technologies being developed include genomics and proteomics testing, portable biosensor for field testing, analytics as well as precision breeding programmes.
The Monash University Malaysia genomics facility supports over 40 genomics research projects using the latest next generation DNA sequencing platforms with partners from Malaysia and globally.
For more information on the School of Science at Monash University Malaysia, log on to www.sci.monash.edu.my.