• A genetic marker for the maternal identification of Atlantic salmon × brown trout hybrids

      Karlsson, S.; Hagen, M.; Eriksen, L.; Hindar, K.; Jensen, A.; De Leaniz, C.; Cotter, D.; Guobergsson, G.; Kahilainen, K.; Guojonsson, S.; et al. (Springer Netherlands, 2013)
      Interspecific hybridization between Atlantic salmon and brown trout is well documented, but why it should vary so much among populations is not clear. Determining the maternal origin of hybrids can provide insights into the mechanisms underlying interspecific hybridization, but this information is lacking in many studies. Here we present a species-specific mitochondrial DNA marker for the identification of the maternal origin of hybrids. This marker involves only one PCR step followed by fragment analysis, can be integrated within PCR multiplexing for existing nuclear markers for hybrid identification, and is therefore faster and more cost-effective than previous methods.
    • Molecular pedigree reconstruction and estimation of evolutionary parameters in a wild Atlantic salmon river system with incomplete sampling: a power analysis

      Aykanat, T.; Johnston, S.; Cotter, D.; Cross, T.; Poole, R.; Prodohl, P.; Reed, T.; Rogan, G.; McGinnity, P.; Primmer, C. (BioMed Central, 2014)
      Pedigree reconstruction using genetic analysis provides a useful means to estimate fundamental population biology parameters relating to population demography, trait heritability and individual fitness when combined with other sources of data. However, there remain limitations to pedigree reconstruction in wild populations, particularly in systems where parent-offspring relationships cannot be directly observed, there is incomplete sampling of individuals, or molecular parentage inference relies on low quality DNA from archived material. While much can still be inferred from incomplete or sparse pedigrees, it is crucial to evaluate the quality and power of available genetic information a priori to testing specific biological hypotheses. Here, we used microsatellite markers to reconstruct a multi-generation pedigree of wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) using archived scale samples collected with a total trapping system within a river over a 10 year period. Using a simulation-based approach, we determined the optimal microsatellite marker number for accurate parentage assignment, and evaluated the power of the resulting partial pedigree to investigate important evolutionary and quantitative genetic characteristics of salmon in the system.
    • Varying disease-mediated selection at different life-history stages of Atlantic salmon in fresh water

      DeEyto, Elvira; McGinnity, Philip; Huisman, Jisca; Coughlan, Jamie; Consuegra, Sofia; Farrell, Killian; O'Toole, Ciar; Tufto, Jarle; Megens, Hendrik-Jan; Jordan, William; et al. (Blackwell Publisher, 2011)
      Laboratory studies on associations between disease resistance and susceptibility and major histocompatibility (MH) genes in Atlantic salmon Salmo salar have shown the importance of immunogenetics in understanding the capacity of populations to fight specific diseases. However, the occurrence and virulence of pathogens may vary spatially and temporally in the wild, making it more complicated to predict the overall effect that MH genes exert on fitness of natural populations and over several life-history stages. Here we show that MH variability is a significant determinant of salmon survival in fresh water, by comparing observed and expected genotype frequencies at MH and control microsatellite loci at parr and migrant stages in the wild. We found that additive allelic effects at immunogenetic loci were more likely to determine survival than dominance deviation, and that selection on certain MH alleles varied with life stage, possibly owing to varying pathogen prevalence and/or virulence over time. Our results highlight the importance of preserving genetic diversity (particularly at MH loci) in wild populations, so that they have the best chance of adapting to new and increased disease challenges as a result of projected climate warming and increasing aquaculture.