Home News 'Super trees,' 'super fish': What's next, 'super soldiers' and 'designer babies'?

‘Super trees,’ ‘super fish’: What’s next, ‘super soldiers’ and ‘designer babies’?

Singapore scientists are now in the process of reproducing strong, fast-growing “superfish” that have additional amounts of healthy fat in an effort to generate more locally-produced, high-quality protein

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It appears, Singapore likes being “super” in its creations.

Not satisfied with the installation of its technological marvels in the form of 50meter trees or super trees as they are known, Singapore scientists are now in the process of reproducing strong, fast-growing “superfish” that have additional amounts of healthy fat in an effort to generate more locally-produced, high-quality protein.

These “premium tilapia” are being bred inside the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) and are designed to be disease-resistant and rich in Omega-3, a component known to be good for the heart.
The tilapia will join the ranks of locally produced fish stock – TLL-bred sea bass and barramundi developed by Barramundi Asia.

The scientists are one in the belief that a small country like Singapore which is susceptible to food interruptions, needs high-technology and high-intensity fish farming to make it self-sufficient in producing its own food.

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To develop the superfish, the lab has been collaborating with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) on improving the yield and quality of tilapia through selective breeding.

Researchers from the lab identify and mate the best fish, also known as the brood stock, to produce schools of tilapia that inherit superior traits.

According to Dr Liew Woei Chang, research investigator at TLL, “Tilapia is a traditional brackish-water or freshwater fish. In Singapore, we don’t have much freshwater sources. But we have a lot of coastal lines, so we are working on adapting our tilapia to grow in seawater.”

Currently, the team is working on improving the resilience of the fish so that they can thrive in crowded fish farms and adapt to seawater.

The tilapia breeding programme started in 2011 and TLL is hoping to commercialise the fish in the coming years.

Priorities

The Singapore government’s key priorities include securing Singapore’s position, building a world-class city, developing a vibrant economy, forging a caring society, and nurturing a Singaporean identity.

Food for thought 

Singapore has shown a “fondness” or an inclination to create things of grandeur. At the rate it is going, there is the possibility that with technology at its fingertips, its NS people will also be made into “unbeatable” soldiers, and soon, it will have “designer babies.”

What really is Singapore’s priority? Making life for its people worth living or making the tiny state look big in the eyes of the world?

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg 

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