Professor Wayne Knibb

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Professor Wayne Knibb


Professor in Genetics


+61 7 5430 2831
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Professor Wayne Knibb


Professor Wayne Knibb completed his PhD in Population Genetics from the Australian National University, ACT in 1982. Following on, from 1990 to 1999, Wayne was Head of the Genetics Department, NCM, Israel, and was a pioneer in the genetic improvement of marine fish (sea bream and sea bass) using selection, single gene mutations, hybrids, triploids, and genetic engineering.

From 2000 to 2006, Wayne took up a position as Principal Research Scientist for the Queensland Department of Primary Industries; and from 2004 to 2006, was the leader (Principal Investigator) of Australia’s major collaborative genetic selection program for the giant black tiger prawns (Penaeus monodon). The collaborators / partners on this project included the Australian Institute of Marine Science, CSIRO, The Australian Prawn Farmers Association, and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).

Presently, Wayne is a leader of the genetics breeding group that includes 11 staff and students with active projects in five Australian states and four overseas countries.

Wayne conducts genetic breeding projects on:

  • South Pacific Pearls with the Paspaley Pearling Company in NT and WA (selection indices, genomic prediction, genetic parameter estimates – overall question, how to select and breed for “beautiful” pearls)

  • Yellow tail kingfish in NSW, SA and Mexico (genetic parameter estimates, genomic prediction of breeding values, global biogeographic variation, sex markers)

  • Tropical and eastern rock lobsters in Tasmania and Malaysia (pedigree management, breeding, and evaluations of families)

  • Banana shrimp (assessment of viral titre and inbreeding)

  • Sydney Rock Oysters in NSW (the assessment of inbreeding and management of diversity)

  • Giant black tiger shrimp in Madagascar (pedigree management)

  • Portuguese Oyster in Vietnam (taxonomy, assessment of genetic diversity, breeding)

  • White leg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) in Vietnam (genetic diversity, breeding)

  • Barramundi in Vietnam (genetic diversity, breeding)

Funding of these projects is mostly through industry partnerships and CRCs (kingfish, shrimp), FRDC (pearls), ARC (lobsters).

The group is also responsible for teaching 3rd year aquaculture (ENS371 second year genetics (SCI212 third year genetics (ENS324 and will shortly roll out a M.Sc. for genetics by a mixture of course work (with grade transcripts) and research.

Key recent industry outcomes:

  • Partnered the transition of Australian Pearling from wild stock to genetically improved families yielding improved pearls. Today, pearling is one of the few Australian aquaculture companies that continue to compete internationally, and technology such as genetic breeding supports that competitiveness.

  • Developed the world’s first genetic improved kingfish stocks; these stocks are currently in use and underpin major improvements in productivity and profitability for partner companies.

  • Resolved confusion over the identity of oyster species used in Vietnam, providing the framework for national oyster breeding programs.

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