Origin and introduction history of self-sustaining rainbow trout populations in Europe as inferred from mitochondrial DNA and a Y-linked marker
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Following its introduction in the late nineteenth century, rainbow trout gradually spread to become one of the most widespread non-native fishes. Nevertheless, despite continuous introductions, they have become self-sustaining in only a limited number of European rivers, most of which are located in the Prealps. There is no consensus on the reasons for the absence of self-sustaining populations over most of Europe, though genetic differences have been suggested as a potential underlying factor. We conducted a population genetic study of the structure and origin of European populations to help resolve these questions. We examined variation in mitochondrial D-loop and the Y-linked marker of 41 self-sustaining, stocked, and hatchery populations from Europe and compared them to native and hatchery populations in North America. High levels of genetic diversity but little inter-population genetic variation suggests that European populations are derived from multiple sources, with a great majority of parental populations belonging to steelhead and coastal rainbow trout from Central and Northern California. Our study revealed no considerable genetic differences among European self-sustaining, stocked, and hatchery populations. The mitochondrial DNA data do not allow evaluation of selection and adaptive traits and thus cannot explain potential population differences arising in their naturalization success.
KeywordsRainbow trout Non-native fish species Biological invasions Self-sustaining populations Genetic diversity
We are grateful to all the people who shared their data and knowledge on self-sustaining rainbow trout populations in Europe or provided samples, special thanks go to P. Berrebi, K. Bogataj, N. Bravničar, N. Cathcart, A. Crivelli, S. Fenoglio, G. Feuerstein, B. Glamuzina, M. Govedič, C. Hahn, D. Jesenšek, G. Pustovrh, N. Šprem, F. Unfer and M. Vaupotič. We thank I. Wilson for the English revision of the manuscript. The research was supported by Slovenian Research Agency.
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