Aquaculture America 2023

February 23 - 26, 2023

New Orleans, Louisiana USA


Han-Ping Wang, Zhi-Gang Shen, and Hong Yao


Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development

The Ohio State University South Centers

1864 Shyville Rd, Piketon, OH, 45661


As aquaculture and livestock production and human demands increase, much effort has been focused on improving production efficiency and heath wellbeing of agricultural animals and fish, as well as their sustainability using genetic approaches, which have explained part of the phenotypic variability of economic traits. Mounting evidence from epigenetic research in humans and animals has demonstrated that epigenetics plays a complementary role to genetics, touching many aspects of biological processes such as reproduction, early development, disease, growth, and nutrition. The role of epigenetics in aquaculture and aquatic animals is similar to other vertebrates in principle, even for embryonic development. As epigenetics in aquaculture is behind other livestock and animals, in this paper we will summarize the roles and applications of epigenetic processes in reproduction and early development, health and wellbeing management, and nutrition and growth advancement, and sustainability enhancement from different taxa to diverse teleosts, aimed to provide insights into the potential roles of epigenetics in aquaculture and aquatic animals, based on most recently research progress.

New findings regarding epigenetics being made in Metazoa have the potential to contribute to future applications related to the wellbeing and productivity of farm animals and aquaculture species with minimal environmental impact. However, the roles of epigenetic mechanisms and their potential in the aforementioned aspects are far from being fully understood. Thus, more studies are needed to generate/identify comprehensive data and fill the knowledge gaps concerning the contributions of epigenetics to reproduction, growth, nutrition, health, and the immune response of farm animals and aquaculture species.

To generate comprehensive and meaningful data, eventually epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) will need to be implemented in farm animals and aquatic species. For instance, array-based DNA methylation has been used for EWAS in human. Meanwhile, identifying epigenetic effects on production traits under the impact of multiple factors is also worth investigating. This will facilitate epigenetic biomarker development and utilization in farm animal management. In addition, comprehensive exploration of the impacts of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance on domestication and selective breeding is needed. This will further facilitate understanding of currently identified effects and applications of epigenetics in sustainable production. Moreover, there is a need for studying the correlation between epigenetics and related physiologic responses. This could enhance our knowledge of the regulation of key production traits of farm animals and aquaculture species. For detailed information on progress, knowledge gaps, challenges, and prospects in epigenetics with aquaculture and aquatic species, please see related chapters in the book “Epigenetics in Aquaculture”.