Genetics of growth reaction norms in farmed rainbow trout

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Abstract

Rainbow trout is farmed globally under diverse uncontrollable environments. Fish with low macroenvironmental sensitivity (ES) of growth is important to thrive and grow under these uncontrollable environments. The ES may evolve as a correlated response to selection for growth in one environment when the genetic correlation between ES and growth is nonzero. The aims of this study were to quantify additive genetic variance for ES of body weight (BW), defined as the slope of reaction norm across breeding environment (BE) and production environment (PE), and to estimate the genetic correlation (r<inf>g(int, sl</inf>)) between BW and ES. To estimate heritable variance of ES, the coheritability of ES was derived using selection index theory. The BW records from 43,040 rainbow trout performing either in freshwater or seawater were analysed using a reaction norm model. High additive genetic variance for ES (9584) was observed, inferring that genetic changes in ES can be expected. The coheritability for ES was either -0.06 (intercept at PE) or -0.08 (intercept at BE), suggesting that BW observation in either PE or BE results in low accuracy of selection for ES. Yet, the r<inf>g(int, sl</inf>) was negative (-0.41 to -0.33) indicating that selection for BW in one environment is expected to result in more sensitive fish. To avoid an increase of ES while selecting for BW, it is possible to have equal genetic gain in BW in both environments so that ES is maintained stable.

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Sae-Lim, P., Mulder, H., Gjerde, B., Koskinen, H., Lillehammer, M., & Kause, A. (2015). Genetics of growth reaction norms in farmed rainbow trout. PLoS ONE, 10(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0135133

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