Genomic Prediction of Resistance to Pasteurellosis in Gilthead Sea Bream (Sparus aurata) Using 2b-RAD Sequencing

Christos Palaiokostas, Serena Ferraresso, Rafaella Franch, Ross D Houston, Luca Bargelloni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) is a species of paramount importance to the Mediterranean aquaculture industry, with an annual production exceeding 140,000 metric tonnes. Pasteurellosis due to the Gram-negative bacterium Photobacterium damselae subsp. piscicida (Phdp) causes significant mortality, especially during larval and juvenile stages, and poses a serious threat to bream production. Selective breeding for improved resistance to pasteurellosis is a promising avenue for disease control, and the use of genetic markers to predict breeding values can improve the accuracy of selection, and allow accurate calculation of estimated breeding values (EBV) of non-challenged animals. In the current study, a population of 825 sea bream juveniles, originating from a factorial cross between 67 broodfish (32 sires; 35 dams), were challenged by 30 min immersion with 1 × 10(5) CFU virulent Phdp. Mortalities and survivors were recorded and sampled for genotyping by sequencing. The 2b-RAD sequencing approach was used to generate genome-wide SNP genotypes for all samples. A high-density linkage map containing 12,085 SNPs grouped into 24 linkage groups (consistent with the karyotype) was constructed. The heritability of surviving days (censored data) was 0.22 (95% highest density interval: 0.11-0.36) and 0.28 (95% highest density interval: 0.17-0.4) using the pedigree and the genomic relationship matrix respectively. A genome wide association study did not reveal individual SNPs significantly associated with resistance at a genome wide significance level. Genomic prediction approaches were tested to investigate the potential of the SNPs obtained by 2bRAD for estimating breeding values for resistance. The accuracy of the genomic prediction models (r = 0.38 - 0.46) outperformed the traditional BLUP approach based on pedigree records (r = 0.30). Overall results suggest that major quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting resistance to pasteurellosis were not present in this population, but highlight the effectiveness of 2b-RAD genotyping by sequencing for genomic selection in a mass spawning fish species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3693-3700
JournalG3: Genes | Genomes | Genetics
Issue number11
Early online date21 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • 2b-RAD
  • aqauculture
  • breeding
  • genomic selection
  • high-throughput sequencing


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