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Growth-related quantitative trait loci in domestic and wild rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Brendan F Wringe12, Robert H Devlin3, Moira M Ferguson1, Hooman K Moghadam14, Dionne Sakhrani3 and Roy G Danzmann1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Integrative Biology, 50 Stone Road East, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1 Canada

2 Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL, A1B 3X9 Canada

3 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 4160 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, BC, V7V 1N6 Canada

4 College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA

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BMC Genetics 2010, 11:63  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-11-63

Published: 7 July 2010



Somatic growth is a complex process that involves the action and interaction of genes and environment. A number of quantitative trait loci (QTL) previously identified for body weight and condition factor in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and two other salmonid species, were used to further investigate the genetic architecture of growth-influencing genes in this species. Relationships among previously mapped candidate genes for growth and their co-localization to identified QTL regions are reported. Furthermore, using a comparative genomic analysis of syntenic rainbow trout linkage group clusters to their homologous regions within model teleost species such as zebrafish, stickleback and medaka, inferences were made regarding additional possible candidate genes underlying identified QTL regions.


Body weight (BW) QTL were detected on the majority of rainbow trout linkage groups across 10 parents from 3 strains. However, only 10 linkage groups (i.e., RT-3, -6, -8, -9, -10, -12, -13, -22, -24, -27) possessed QTL regions with chromosome-wide or genome-wide effects across multiple parents. Fewer QTL for condition factor (K) were identified and only six instances of co-localization across families were detected (i.e. RT-9, -15, -16, -23, -27, -31 and RT-2/9 homeologs). Of note, both BW and K QTL co-localize on RT-9 and RT-27. The incidence of epistatic interaction across genomic regions within different female backgrounds was also examined, and although evidence for interaction effects within certain QTL regions were evident, these interactions were few in number and statistically weak. Of interest, however, was the fact that these predominantly occurred within K QTL regions. Currently mapped growth candidate genes are largely congruent with the identified QTL regions. More QTL were detected in male, compared to female parents, with the greatest number evident in an F1 male parent derived from an intercross between domesticated and wild strain of rainbow trout which differed strongly in growth rate.


Strain background influences the degree to which QTL effects are evident for growth-related genes. The process of domestication (which primarily selects faster growing fish) may largely reduce the genetic influences on growth-specific phenotypic variation. Although heritabilities have been reported to be relatively high for both BW and K growth traits, the genetic architecture of K phenotypic variation appears less defined (i.e., fewer major contributing QTL regions were identified compared with BW QTL regions).