A 3-feet long vegetarian fish may show the way to get protein without meat

The Cebidichthys violaceus, known as the monkeyface prickleback, grows to as much as three feet long and six pounds in weight. Credit: NOAA/MBARI / Nature, Public domain
  • Scientists have discovered a specialised genome in an unusual fish called the 'monkeyface prickleback', reports the Nature magazine.
  • Unlike most aquaculture fish that are carnivores, the monkeyface prickleback is very efficient in breaking down plant-based lipids, one of the researchers said.
  • Raising of livestock is less sustainable amidst global warming and this discovery holds promise for developing new sources of protein for human consumption.
The monkeyface prickleback is a relatively rare fish that has become a fad among top diners in America over the last decade. Today, the unusual may have opened new secrets of the universe.

Scientists have discovered a specialised genome in the 'monkeyface prickleback'. The authors of the report, Donovan German, who is associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology, along with researcher Joseph Heras and their colleagues were not fascinated by what the fish tastes but by what it eats to survive.

Aside from being a vegetarian, the three feet long, and up to six pounds by weight, fish can survive on land for up to 37 hours. "Using plant-based food ingredients reduces pollution and costs less. However, most aquaculture fish are carnivores and can't handle plant lipids," Heras, the paper's first author, told the Nature . On the other hand, the monkeyface prickleback is very efficient in breaking down plant-based lipids.

The discovery of the monkeyface prickleback, which is available in the US west coast, has opened the possibility to look for the right genes that could provide new candidates for sustainable aquaculture. Raising of livestock is less sustainable amidst global warming and this discovery holds promise for developing new sources of protein for human consumption.

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Here’s how you can use fish waste to grow over 40 vegetables in a rice box

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