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Infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN) is a viral disease currently presenting a major problem in the production of Atlantic salmon (Salmon salar). IPN can cause significant mortality to salmon fry within freshwater hatcheries and to smolts following transfer to seawater, although challenged populations show clear genetic variation in resistance. To determine whether this genetic variation includes loci of major effect, a genomewide quantitative trait loci (QTL) scan was performed within 10 full-sib families that had received a natural seawater IPN challenge. To utilize the large difference between Atlantic salmon male and female recombination rates, a two-stage mapping strategy was employed. Initially, a sire-based QTL analysis was used to detect linkage groups with significant effects on IPN resistance, using two to three microsatellite markers per linkage group. A dam-based analysis with additional markers was then used to confirm and position any detected QTL. Two genomewide significant QTL and one suggestive QTL were detected in the genome scan. The most significant QTL was mapped to linkage group 21 and was significant at the genomewide level in both the sire and the dam-based analyses. The identified QTL can be applied in marker-assisted selection programs to improve the resistance of salmon to IPN and reduce disease-related mortality.
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