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Genetic diversity of salmon influences their sea lice load

R. J. Pawluk, C. G. de Leaniz, S. Consuegra

Journal of Fish Diseases (2019) 42, 1091–3

doi: 10.1111/jfd.12986

• What did the research find?

Sea lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) abundance varied greatly among the salmon sampled, but this variation was unrelated to the size of the fish or to homozygosity at neutral loci. Parasite load was instead influenced by homozygosity at major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-linked loci (P=0.007) and the age of the fish (P=0.002). Increased homozygosity at MHC-linked loci was associated with a lower sea lice load, particularly for older fish.

• How was it conducted?

A total of 54 Scottish Atlantic salmon were sampled after one month in sea cages and again after 13 months. The length of the fish was measured, and total genomic DNA was extracted from adipose fin clips. To quantify genetic diversity, the number of alleles, homozygosity, effective population size and pairwise relatedness were estimated for 15 microsatellite loci – including neutral loci and two MHC-linked loci. Generalised …

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