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Species-diagnostic SNP markers for the black basses (Micropterus spp.): a new tool for black bass conservation and management


Black basses (genus Micropterus) are apex predators in North American streams, rivers, and lakes and important game fishes. Translocation and introductions for angling, accompanied by intrinsically weak genetic barriers, have led to widespread introgressive hybridization and genetic swamping. Species-diagnostic (fixed allele) SNP markers have been utilized successfully in salmonids to monitor hybridization and genetic integrity. Here, we developed similar resources for black basses through initial genotyping-by-sequencing, followed by validation in additional samples using two panels of 64 SNPs. Results from > 1300 genotyped bass indicated that the developed panels robustly and clearly delineate fifteen species and their hybrids among black basses. The panels represent a flexible, rapid turnaround (~ 1 day), and cost-effective tool that should augment ongoing efforts toward black bass conservation and management.

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The study was conducted with funding from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and the Southeastern Fish Genetics Cooperative. We are appreciative of collaborators for their assistance in sample collection, including our coauthors, and particularly Steven Sammons and Carol Johnston at School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences, Auburn University, Steven Rider and Chris McKee at ADCNR, Bud Freeman at Georgia Museum of Natural History and Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, and Patrick Black at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

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Correspondence to Eric Peatman.

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Supplementary material 1 STRUCTURE analyses with K = 10 were unable to differentiate Coosa bass, Cahaba bass (A. yellow bars), or Warrior bass (C. yellow bars) while Tallapoosa bass (B) could be distinguished due to the effect of large sample size. STRUCTURE analyses with K = 12 were unable to differentiate Coosa bass, Cahaba bass, or Tallapoosa bass (D. yellow bars) (TIFF 53061 kb)


Supplementary material 2 STRUCTURE analyses with K = 9 using the SNP markers demonstrated genetic assignments of each redeye bass species; (A) Coosa bass, (B) Cahaba bass, (C) Tallapoosa bass, and (D) Warrior bass when analyzed with other non-redeye bass species (TIFF 51511 kb)


Supplementary material 3 STRUCTURE analyses with K = 5 using the SNP markers revealed hybridization within the Mobile River drainage redeye bass group and outgroup (Alabama bass) (TIFF 17961 kb)


Supplementary material 4 STRUCTURE analyses with K = 6 using the SNP markers revealed purity among shoal bass broodstock from GADNR (TIFF 2814 kb)

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Thongda, W., Lewis, M., Zhao, H. et al. Species-diagnostic SNP markers for the black basses (Micropterus spp.): a new tool for black bass conservation and management. Conservation Genet Resour 12, 319–328 (2020).

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  • Micropterus spp.
  • Genotyping-by-sequencing
  • SNP
  • Black bass
  • Hybridization