• crustaceans;
  • genetic effects;
  • genomes;
  • growth traits;
  • growth-related genes;
  • muscle development/degradation genes;
  • next generation sequencing;
  • quantitative trait locus


Global aquaculture has expanded rapidly to address the increasing demand for aquatic protein needs and an uncertain future for wild fisheries. To date, however, most farmed aquatic stocks are essentially wild and little is known about their genomes or the genes that affect important economic traits in culture. Biologists have recognized that recent technological advances including next generation sequencing (NGS) have opened up the possibility of generating genome wide sequence data sets rapidly from non-model organisms at a reasonable cost. In an era when virtually any study organism can ‘go genomic’, understanding gene function and genetic effects on expressed quantitative trait locus phenotypes will be fundamental to future knowledge development. Many factors can influence the individual growth rate in target species but of particular importance in agriculture and aquaculture will be the identification and characterization of the specific gene loci that contribute important phenotypic variation to growth because the information can be applied to speed up genetic improvement programmes and to increase productivity via marker-assisted selection (MAS). While currently there is only limited genomic information available for any crustacean species, a number of putative candidate genes have been identified or implicated in growth and muscle development in some species. In an effort to stimulate increased research on the identification of growth-related genes in crustacean species, here we review the available information on: (i) associations between genes and growth reported in crustaceans, (ii) growth-related genes involved with moulting, (iii) muscle development and degradation genes involved in moulting and (iv) correlations between DNA sequences that have confirmed growth trait effects in farmed animal species used in terrestrial agriculture and related sequences in crustacean species. The information in concert can provide a foundation for increasing the rate at which knowledge about key genes affecting growth traits in crustacean species is gained.