Changed Patterns of Genomic Variation Following Recent Domestication: Selection Sweeps in Farmed Atlantic Salmon

Marina Naval-Sanchez, Sean McWilliam, Bradley J. Evans, Jose M. Yáñez, Ross Houston, James W. Kijas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The introduction of wild Atlantic salmon into captivity, and their subsequent artificial selection for production traits, has caused phenotypic differences between domesticated fish and their wild counterparts. Identification of regions of the genome underling these changes offers the promise of characterizing the early biological consequences of domestication. In the current study, we sequenced a population of farmed European Atlantic salmon and compared the observed patterns of SNP variation to those found in conspecific wild populations. This identified 139 genomic regions that contained significantly elevated SNP homozygosity in farmed fish when compared to their wild counterparts. The most extreme was adjacent to versican, a gene involved in control of neural crest cell migration. To control for false positive signals, a second and independent dataset of farmed and wild European Atlantic salmon was assessed using the same methodology. A total of 81 outlier regions detected in the first dataset showed significantly reduced homozygosity within the second one, strongly suggesting the genomic regions identified are enriched for true selection sweeps. Examination of the associated genes identified a number previously characterized as targets of selection in other domestic species and that have roles in development, behavior and olfactory system. These include arcvf, sema6, errb4, id2-like, and 6n1-like genes. Finally, we searched for evidence of parallel sweeps using a farmed population of North American origin. This failed to detect a convincing overlap to the putative sweeps present in European populations, suggesting the factors that drive patterns of variation under domestication and early artificial selection were largely independent. This is the first analysis on domestication of aquaculture species exploiting whole-genome sequence data and resulted in the identification of sweeps common to multiple independent populations of farmed European Atlantic salmon.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in genetics
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Changed Patterns of Genomic Variation Following Recent Domestication: Selection Sweeps in Farmed Atlantic Salmon'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this