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Training the salmon's genes: influence of aerobic exercise, swimming performance and selection on gene expression in Atlantic salmon


Training the salmon's genes: influence of aerobic exercise, swimming performance and selection on gene expression in Atlantic salmon



Bmc Genomics 18(1): 971



ISSN/ISBN: 1471-2164

PMID: 29246115

DOI: 10.1186/s12864-017-4361-7

Farmed and wild Atlantic salmon are exposed to many infectious and non-infectious challenges that can cause mortality when they enter the sea. Exercise before transfer promotes growth, health and survival in the sea. Swimming performance in juveniles at the freshwater parr stage is positively associated with resistance to some diseases. Genetic variation is likely to affect response to exercise. In this study we map genetic differences associated with aerobic exercise, swimming performance and genetic origin. Eggs from the selectively bred Bolaks salmon and wild Lærdal River salmon strains were reared until parr in a common environment. Swimming performance was assessed by subjecting the fish to either continuous hard exercise or control conditions for 18 days. Heart was sampled for examination of gene expression using RNA-seq (~60 fish/treatment). Lower expression of genes affecting immune function was found in domesticated than wild parr. Among wild parr under control exercise the expression of a large number of genes involved in general metabolism, stress and immune response was lower in superior swimmers suggesting that minimisation of energy expenditure during periods of low activity makes parr better able to sustain bursts of swimming for predator avoidance. A similar set of genes were down-regulated with training among wild parr with inferior swimming performance. These parr react to training in a way that their cardiac expression patterns become like the superior performing wild parr under control exercise conditions. Diversifying selection caused by breeding of domesticated stock, and adaptive pressures in wild stock, has affected the expression and frequency of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for multiple functional groups of genes affecting diverse processes. SNPs associated with swimming performance in wild parr map to genes involved in energetic processes, coding for contractile filaments in the muscle and controlling cell proliferation. Domesticated parr have less phenotypic plasticity in response to training and lower expression of genes with functions affecting immune response. The genetic response to training is complex and depends on the background of parr and their swimming ability. Exercise should be tailored to the genetics and swimming performance of fish.

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Accession: 065632418

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