Genetic variation in resistance of the tiger pufferfish Takifugu rubripes to a host-specific monogenean parasite Heterobothrium okamotoi
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.
KeywordsGenetic 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.
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Conflict of interest
None of the authors have any conflict of interest to disclose.
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