Predicting the nutritional value of fish

Fish that are genetically related have similar nutritional content, according to a new study co-led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Food security expert Bapu Vaitla, a visiting scientist at Harvard Chan School, and colleagues studied 371 fish species and found that genetic similarities were the main predictor of nutritional similarity—more so than body size, habitat, and other lifestyle characteristics of the fish.

The findings mean that scientists can now predict the vitamin and mineral content of fish species without analyzing tissue samples from many types of fish from all over the world, which can be difficult and time-consuming. Such information is important for the more than 3 billion people who depend on fish as part of their protein intake.

In a November 13, 2018 article in EcoWatch, Vaitla said, “When we’re worried about things like climate change or pollution or overfishing and how it’s affecting human health, the question amounts to knowing the nutrient landscape out there and how these environmental changes alter that landscape.”

Other Harvard Chan authors of the study included Christopher Golden, Matthew Smith, and Samuel Myers.

Read the EcoWatch article: How Nutritious Is That Fish? To Find Out, Ask Its Relatives