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Estimation of genetic parameters for growth traits in a hatchery population of gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata L.)

Abstract

The gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata L.) is one of the most important marine fish species produced in southern European countries. Over the last two decades, microsatellites have become a powerful tool for DNA studies of fish populations, making it possible to establish existing genealogical relationships between individuals and to perform reliable estimates of genetic parameters. In the present study, a total of 7959 fish (494 breeders and 7465 fry) were genotyped using two rounds of multiplex reactions with four microsatellite markers each. Offspring were assigned based on the Mendelian exclusion principles, using FAP program. Genealogical information was successfully obtained for more than 83 % of the progeny. Heritability estimates were close to 0.40 in all cases and for all considered traits. The lowest value was for the length at first age (350 ± 6 dph) and the highest for the length at the second age (500 ± 7 dph). The heritabilities for the first and the second weight were similar although somewhat higher for the second age, but not significant. The highest genetic correlations were found between weight and length at the same age and the lowest between weight and length at different ages. Based on the results of this study, it seems reasonable to expect that the implementation of a breeding program for improved growth in this population of gilthead sea bream will offer comparable performances to those achieved in other populations and species of great success in aquaculture around the world.

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Correspondence to Tiago Fernandes.

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Fernandes, T., Herlin, M., Belluga, M.D.L. et al. Estimation of genetic parameters for growth traits in a hatchery population of gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata L.). Aquacult Int 25, 499–514 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10499-016-0046-5

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Keywords

  • Heritability
  • Sparus aurata
  • Gilthead sea bream
  • Genetic correlation
  • Genealogy
  • Microsatellites
  • Parentage estimation