Open Access Open Badges Research article

Whole genome scanning and association mapping identified a significant association between growth and a SNP in the IFABP-a gene of the Asian seabass

Jun Hong Xia, Grace Lin, Xiaoping He, Peng Liu, Feng Liu, Fei Sun, Rongjian Tu and Gen Hua Yue*

Author Affiliations

Molecular Population Genetics Group, Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, 1 Research Link, National University of Singapore, 117604 Singapore, Singapore

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genomics 2013, 14:295  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-295

Published: 1 May 2013



Aquaculture is the quickest growing sector in agriculture. However, QTL for important traits have been only identified in a few aquaculture species. We conducted QTL mapping for growth traits in an Asian seabass F2 family with 359 individuals using 123 microsatellites and 22 SNPs, and performed association mapping in four populations with 881 individuals.


Twelve and nine significant QTL, as well as 14 and 10 suggestive QTL were detected for growth traits at six and nine months post hatch, respectively. These QTL explained 0.9-12.0% of the phenotypic variance. For body weight, two QTL intervals at two stages were overlapped while the others were mapped onto different positions. The IFABP-a gene located in a significant QTL interval for growth on LG5 was cloned and characterized. A SNP in exon 3 of the gene was significantly associated with growth traits in different populations.


The results of QTL mapping for growth traits suggest that growth at different stages was controlled by some common QTL and some different QTL. Positional candidate genes and association mapping suggest that the IFABP-a is a strong candidate gene for growth. Our data supply a basis for fine mapping QTL, marker-assisted selection and further detailed analysis of the functions of the IFABP-a gene in fish growth.

Single nucleotide polymorphism; Growth trait; Candidate gene; Quantitative trait locus