Fisheries Science

, Volume 85, Issue 6, pp 1019–1025 | Cite as

Genetic variation in resistance of the tiger pufferfish Takifugu rubripes to a host-specific monogenean parasite Heterobothrium okamotoi

  • Dong In Kim
  • Sho HosoyaEmail author
  • Naoki Mizuno
  • Kotaro Ito
  • Risa Ieda
  • Kiyoshi Kikuchi
Original Article Aquaculture


The tiger pufferfish Takifugu rubripes is one of the most valuable aquaculture species in Japan. In this study, we investigated the genetic variation in resistance to heterobothriosis caused by a host-specific monogenean parasite, Heterobothrium okamotoi, in the tiger pufferfish, and examined the possibility of selective breeding for enhancing resistance traits. A total of 299 tiger pufferfish produced from ten males and one female caught from the wild were experimentally exposed to oncomiracidia of H. okamotoi. The number of parasites on the gills at 3 weeks post-infection ranged from 0 to 68, with great variation observed both within and between families. The estimated heritability for parasite density was small, but significantly different from zero (H2 = 0.098; 95% confidence interval: 0.025–0.201). Although we may have sampled a limited fraction of the genetic variance as the number of families was small, the results suggest that there are genetic components that affect heterobothriosis resistance in the species. A positive phenotypic correlation was observed between parasite count and standard length (r = 0.66). Further investigation of the genetic correlation between the two traits using larger families is needed to assess the impacts of selective breeding on heterobothriosis resistance in this species.


Genetic effects Parasite resistance Phenotypic correlation Heterobothriosis The tiger pufferfish 



The authors sincerely thank two anonymous reviewers for their careful reading of the manuscript and their many constructive comments and insightful suggestions. We would like to acknowledge Yuka Jo and Masashi Fujita, who helped to maintain experimental fishes. This work has been partially funded by the Project of the Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution, NARO (Special Scheme Project on Advanced Research and Development for Next-generation Technology), the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council, Japan and Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any conflict of interest to disclose.

Supplementary material

12562_2019_1342_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (445 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 445 kb)


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Fisheries Science 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fisheries Laboratory, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesUniversity of TokyoHamamatsuJapan

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