Population genetic evidence for a unique resource of Nile tilapia in Lake Tanganyika, East Africa

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  • Asilatu Shechonge
    University of Dar es SalaamTanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI)
  • Benjamin P. Ngatunga
    Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI)
  • Rashid Tamatamah
    Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI)University of Dar es Salaam
  • Stephanie J. Bradbeer
    University of Bristol
  • Emmanuel Sweke
    Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI)
  • Alan Smith
    University of Hull
  • George F. Turner
  • Martin J. Genner
    University of Bristol
Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) is one of the most important species in Tanzania for inland fisheries and aquaculture. Although indigenous to the country, it is only naturally distributed within the margins of Lake Tanganyika and peripheral water bodies. The widespread distribution across other parts of the country is a consequence of introductions that started in the 1950s. We investigated the population genetic structure of Nile tilapia across Tanzania using nuclear microsatellite markers, and compared the head and body morphology of populations using geometric morphometric analyses. We found the Lake Tanganyika population to be genetically distinct from the introduced populations. However, there were no clear morphological differences in head and body shape that distinguished the Lake Tanganyika population from the others. We conclude that the Lake Tanganyika population of Nile tilapia represents a unique genetic resource within the country. We suggest that Nile tilapia aquaculture within the Lake Tanganyika catchment should be restricted to the indigenous strain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1117
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Issue number8
Early online date4 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

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