Research Highlight

Genome of Pabda fish decoded  

doi:10.1038/nindia.2020.5 Published online 13 January 2020

Pabda fish

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Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi have sequenced the genome of the Indian butter catfish, commonly known as Pabda fish1.

They say that the decoding of the genome of this threatened fish will help in its conservation and captive breeding.  

Catfish such as the Pabda fish are an excellent source of fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, all of which are essential nutrients for growing children, pregnant women and elderly people. In recent years, overfishing, habitat losses, and the rampant use of pesticides have drastically reduced the population of Pabda fish, which is widely found in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal.

After catching Pabda fish from the Ganges, the researchers, led by Subhradip Karmakar, sequenced its genome using the latest gene-sequencing techniques.

They found that the Pabda fish genome contains 21,371 genes. Its genome was found to be comparable to the genomes of the channel catfish and the striped catfish.

The researchers say that this is a significant feat since this fish is hugely popular in Eastern India as a top delicacy. It is also rich in proteins and essential nutrients at an affordable price. 

The first ever draft genome of the Pabda fish, they say, will also help understand its evolution, migration patterns and immune systems. Besides, the research might shed light on the closeness between humans and fish, thereby designing conservation-related development programs for this fish and other vertebrates.


1. Dhar, R. et al. Draft genome of Ompok bimaculatus (Pabda fish). BMC. Res. Notes. (2019) Doi: 10.1186/s13104-019-4867-y