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WP3: Genetics and breeding

Adequate high-throughput genotyping arrays, i.e. SNP chips, are essential tools for genetic studies. A substantial database of SNP markers now exists for both bass and bream as a result of ongoing research programmes, particularly the EU-funded collaborations AquaTrace and FISHBOOST, which have utilised RAD sequencing techniques. In WP3, representative farmed populations of sea bass and sea bream will be sequenced to discover and characterise a substantial SNP database. This SNP set will be harnessed to provide a combined-species SNP array for seabass and seabream, targeted to commercial farmed populations. The SNP chips will be applied to gene mapping, genomic selection and estimation of effective population sizes and relationships between populations throughout the Mediterranean area.

Genotype-by-environment (GxE) interaction is the phenomenon that different genotypes perform differently in different environments and if it exists, selection strategies need to be adapted or separate environment-specific breeding programs need to be developed. MedAID will explore GxE interactions for production efficiency traits in seabream at different temperature profiles in two separate locations.

Objectives

i) To develop a combined SNP array for seabream and seabass.

ii) To develop and test genomic selection to improve key production traits in seabream and sea bass breeding.

iii) To discover individual genes associated with production traits in seabass and seabream.

iv) To characterize the genetic diversity of representative populations of farmed sea bass and sea bream, and test measures on inbreeding.

v) To assess the existence and extent for GxE interaction for temperature and on production efficiency for seabream.