Inter-specific hybrid fishes have been produced for aquaculture and stocking programmes to increase growth rate, transfer desirable traits between species, combine desirable traits of two species into a single group of fishes, reduce unwanted reproduction through production of sterile fish or mono-sex offspring, take advantage of sexual dimorphism, increase harvestability, increase environmental tolerances, and to increase overall hardiness in culture conditions. Hybrids constitute a significant proportion of some countries' production for certain taxa; for example, hybrid striped bass in the USA, hybrid clarid catfish in Thailand, hybrid characids in Venezuela, and hybrid tilapia in Israel. Despite its widespread use, there is a general impression that inter-specific hybridization is not a very useful tool for aquaculture. We believe this impression stems from inaccurate reporting of some useful hybrids, limited testing of strains used for hybrids, and from early work on salmonids that did not result in hybrids of commercial advantage.Experimentation with new hybrid fishes is ongoing, especially in marine culture systems where sterile fish may be preferred because of the concern that fish may escape into the marine and coastal environment.Hybridization has been used in tandem with polyploidization to improve developmental stability in hybrid progeny. The results of inter-specific hybridization can be variable and depend on the genetic structure (including the sex) of the parent fish. Inadvertent hybridization and backcrossing can lead to unexpected and undesirable results in hybrid progeny, such as failure to produce sterile fish, loss of color pattern, and reduced viability.Hybridization is only one tool to improve aquaculture production and will require knowledge of the genetic structure of the broodstock, good broodstock management and monitoring of the viability and fertility of the progeny. Hybridization does represent a genetic modification wherein genes are moved between different species; implications for biodiversity conservation and regulation of this type of modification are discussed.
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Bartley, D., Rana, K. & Immink, A. The use of inter-specific hybrids in aquaculture and fisheries. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 10, 325–337 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1016691725361