20 April 2020
Arctic charr ( Salvelinus alpinus) is a species of high economic value for the aquaculture industry, and of high ecological value due to its Holarctic distribution in both marine and freshwater environments. Novel genome sequencing approaches enable the study of population and quantitative genetic parameters even on species with limited or no prior genomic resources. Low coverage genotyping by sequencing (GBS) was applied in a selected strain of Arctic charr in Sweden originating from a landlocked freshwater population. For the needs of the current study, animals from year classes 2013 (171 animals, parental population) and 2017 (759 animals; 13 full sib families) were used as a template for identifying genome wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). GBS libraries were constructed using the PstI and MspI restriction enzymes. Approximately 14.5K SNPs passed quality control and were used for estimating a genomic relationship matrix. Thereafter a wide range of analyses were conducted in order to gain insights regarding genetic diversity and investigate the efficiency of the genomic information for parentage assignment and breeding value estimation. Heterozygosity estimates for both year classes suggested a slight excess of heterozygotes. Furthermore, F ST estimates among the families of year class 2017 ranged between 0.009 – 0.066. Principal components analysis (PCA) and discriminant analysis of principal components (DAPC) were applied aiming to identify the existence of genetic clusters among the studied population. Results obtained were in accordance with pedigree records allowing the identification of individual families. Additionally, DNA parentage verification was performed, with results in accordance with the pedigree records with the exception of a putative dam where full sib genotypes suggested a potential recording error. Breeding value estimation for juvenile growth through the usage of the estimated genomic relationship matrix clearly outperformed the pedigree equivalent in terms of prediction accuracy (0.51 opposed to 0.31). Overall, low coverage GBS has proven to be a cost-effective genotyping platform that is expected to boost the selection efficiency of the Arctic charr breeding program.