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Dissecting the loci underlying maturation timing in Atlantic salmon using haplotype and multi-SNP based association methods

By Marion Sinclair-Waters, Torfinn Nome, Jing Wang, Sigbjørn Lien, Matthew P. Kent, Harald Sægrov, Bjørn Florø-Larsen, Geir H. Bolstad, Craig R Primmer, Nicola J. Barson

Posted 30 May 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.05.28.446127

Resolving the genetic architecture of fitness-related traits is key to understanding the evolution and maintenance of fitness variation. However, well-characterized genetic architectures of such traits in wild populations remain uncommon. In this study, we used haplotype-based and multi-SNP Bayesian association methods with sequencing data for 313 individuals from wild populations to further characterize known candidate regions for sea age at maturation in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). We detected an association at five loci (on chromosomes ssa06, ssa09, ssa21, and ssa25) out of 116 candidates previously identified in an aquaculture strain with maturation timing in wild Atlantic salmon. We found that at each of these five loci, variation explained by the locus was predominantly driven by a single SNP suggesting the genetic architecture of Atlantic salmon maturation includes multiple loci with simple, non-clustered alleles. This highlights the diversity of genetic architectures that can exist for fitness-related traits. Furthermore, this study provides a useful multi-SNP framework for future work using sequencing data to characterize genetic variation underlying phenotypes in wild populations.

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