Genotype-by-environment interaction of growth traits in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss): A continental scale study.

P. Sae-Lim, A. Kause, H.A. Mulder, K.E. Martin, A.J. Barfoot, J.A.M. van Arendonk, J. Komen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Rainbow trout is a globally important fish species for aquaculture. However, fish for most farms worldwide are produced by only a few breeding companies. Selection based solely on fish performance recorded at a nucleus may lead to lower-than-expected genetic gains in other production environments when genotype-by-environment (G × E) interaction exists. The aim was to quantify the magnitude of G × E interaction of growth traits (tagging weight; BWT, harvest weight; BWH, and growth rate; TGC) measured across 4 environments, located in 3 different continents, by estimating genetic correlations between environments. A total of 100 families, of at least 25 in size, were produced from the mating 58 sires and 100 dams. In total, 13,806 offspring were reared at the nucleus (selection environment) in Washington State (NUC) and in 3 other environments: a recirculating aquaculture system in Freshwater Institute (FI), West Virginia; a high-altitude farm in Peru (PE), and a cold-water farm in Germany (GER). To account for selection bias due to selective mortality, a multitrait multienvironment animal mixed model was applied to analyze the performance data in different environments as different traits. Genetic correlation (rg) of a trait measured in different environments and rg of different traits measured in different environments were estimated. The results show that heterogeneity of additive genetic variances was mainly found for BWH measured in FI and PE. Additive genetic coefficient of variation for BWH in NUC, FI, PE, and GER were 7.63, 8.36, 8.64, and 9.75, respectively. Genetic correlations between the same trait in different environments were low, indicating strong reranking (BWT: rg = 0.15 to 0.37, BWH: rg = 0.19 to 0.48, TGC: rg = 0.31 to 0.36) across environments. The rg between BWT in NUC and BWH in both FI (0.31) and GER (0.36) were positive, which was also found between BWT in NUC and TGC in both FI (0.10) and GER (0.20). However, rg were negative between BWT in NUC and both BWH (–0.06) and TGC (–0.20) in PE. Correction for selection bias resulted in higher additive genetic variances. In conclusion, strong G × E interaction was found for BWT, BWH, and TGC. Accounting for G × E interaction in the breeding program, either by using sib information from testing stations or environment-specific breeding programs, would increase genetic gains for environments that differ significantly from NUC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5572-5581
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • plant-based diets
  • body-weight
  • parental allocation
  • genetic-parameters
  • breeding programs
  • water temperature
  • sexual-maturity
  • dairy-cattle
  • selection
  • variance


Dive into the research topics of 'Genotype-by-environment interaction of growth traits in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss): A continental scale study.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this