Mapping and validation of a major QTL affecting resistance to pancreas disease (salmonid alphavirus) in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Serap Gonen, M Baranski, I Thorland, A Norris, H Grove, P Arnesen, H Bakke, S Lien, S C Bishop, R D Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Pancreas disease (PD), caused by a salmonid alphavirus (SAV), has a large negative economic and animal welfare impact on Atlantic salmon aquaculture. Evidence for genetic variation in host resistance to this disease has been reported, suggesting that selective breeding may potentially form an important component of disease control. The aim of this study was to explore the genetic architecture of resistance to PD, using survival data collected from two unrelated populations of Atlantic salmon; one challenged with SAV as fry in freshwater (POP 1) and one challenged with SAV as post-smolts in sea water (POP 2). Analyses of the binary survival data revealed a moderate-to-high heritability for host resistance to PD in both populations (fry POP 1 h2~0.5; post-smolt POP 2 h2~0.4). Subsets of both populations were genotyped for single nucleotide polymorphism markers, and six putative resistance quantitative trait loci (QTL) were identified. One of these QTL was mapped to the same location on chromosome 3 in both populations, reaching chromosome-wide significance in both the sire- and dam-based analyses in POP 1, and genome-wide significance in a combined analysis in POP 2. This independently verified QTL explains a significant proportion of host genetic variation in resistance to PD in both populations, suggesting a common underlying mechanism for genetic resistance across lifecycle stages. Markers associated with this QTL are being incorporated into selective breeding programs to improve PD resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-414
Issue number5
Early online date20 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


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