Genetic (co)variance of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) body weight and its uniformity across production environments

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: When rainbow trout from a single breeding program are introduced into various production environments, genotype-by-environment (GxE) interaction may occur. Although growth and its uniformity are two of the most important traits for trout producers worldwide, GxE interaction on uniformity of growth has not been studied. Our objectives were to quantify the genetic variance in body weight (BW) and its uniformity and the genetic correlation (r g) between these traits, and to investigate the degree of GxE interaction on uniformity of BW in breeding (BE) and production (PE) environments using double hierarchical generalized linear models. Log-transformed data were also used to investigate whether the genetic variance in uniformity of BW, GxE interaction on uniformity of BW, and r g between BW and its uniformity were influenced by a scale effect.<br /><br />RESULTS: Although heritability estimates for uniformity of BW were low and of similar magnitude in BE (0.014) and PE (0.012), the corresponding coefficients of genetic variation reached 19 and 21%, which indicated a high potential for response to selection. The genetic re-ranking for uniformity of BW (r g = 0.56) between BE and PE was moderate but greater after log-transformation, as expressed by the low r g (-0.08) between uniformity in BE and PE, which indicated independent genetic rankings for uniformity in the two environments when the scale effect was accounted for. The r g between BW and its uniformity were 0.30 for BE and 0.79 for PE but with log-transformed BW, these values switched to -0.83 and -0.62, respectively.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: Genetic variance exists for uniformity of BW in both environments but its low heritability implies that a large number of relatives are needed to reach even moderate accuracy of selection. GxE interaction on uniformity is present for both environments and sib-testing in PE is recommended when the aim is to improve uniformity across environments. Positive and negative r g between BW and its uniformity estimated with original and log-transformed BW data, respectively, indicate that increased BW is genetically associated with increased variance in BW but with a decrease in the coefficient of variation. Thus, the scale effect substantially influences the genetic parameters of uniformity, especially the sign and magnitude of its r g.

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Sae-Lim, P., Kause, A., Janhunen, M., Vehviläinen, H., Koskinen, H., Gjerde, B., … Mulder, H. A. (2015). Genetic (co)variance of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) body weight and its uniformity across production environments. Genetics Selection Evolution, 47(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12711-015-0122-8

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