Genetic parameters for uniformity of harvest weight and body size traits in the GIFT strain of Nile tilapia

Jovana Marjanovic*, H.A. Mulder, Hooi L. Khaw, Piter Bijma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Animal breeding programs have been very successful in improving the mean levels of traits through selection. However, in recent decades, reducing the variability of trait levels between individuals has become a highly desirable objective. Reaching this objective through genetic selection requires that there is genetic variation in the variability of trait levels, a phenomenon known as genetic heterogeneity of environmental (residual) variance. The aim of our study was to investigate the potential for genetic improvement of uniformity of harvest weight and body size traits (length, depth, and width) in the genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT) strain. In order to quantify the genetic variation in uniformity of traits and estimate the genetic correlations between level and variance of the traits, double hierarchical generalized linear models were applied to individual trait values. Results: Our results showed substantial genetic variation in uniformity of all analyzed traits, with genetic coefficients of variation for residual variance ranging from 39 to 58 %. Genetic correlation between trait level and variance was strongly positive for harvest weight (0.60 ± 0.09), moderate and positive for body depth (0.37 ± 0.13), but not significantly different from 0 for body length and width. Conclusions: Our results on the genetic variation in uniformity of harvest weight and body size traits show good prospects for the genetic improvement of uniformity in the GIFT strain. A high and positive genetic correlation was estimated between level and variance of harvest weight, which suggests that selection for heavier fish will also result in more variation in harvest weight. Simultaneous improvement of harvest weight and its uniformity will thus require index selection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
JournalGenetics, Selection, Evolution
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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