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Genetic architecture of rainbow trout survival from egg to adult



Survival from birth to a reproductive adult is a challenge that only robust individuals resistant to a variety of mortality factors will overcome. To assess whether survival traits share genetic architecture throughout the life cycle, we estimated genetic correlations for survival within fingerling stage, and across egg, fingerling and grow-out stages in farmed rainbow trout. Genetic parameters of survival at three life cycle stages were estimated for 249 166 individuals originating from ten year classes of a pedigreed population. Despite being an important fitness component, survival traits harboured significant but modest amount of genetic variation (h2=0·07–0·27). Weak associations between survival during egg-fry and fingerling periods, between early and late fingerling periods (rG=0·30) and generally low genetic correlations between fingerling and grow-out survival (mean rG=0·06) suggested that life-stage specific survival traits are best regarded as separate traits. However, in the sub-set of data with detailed time of death records, positive genetic correlations between early and late fingerling survival (rG=0·89) showed that during certain years the best genotypes in the early period were also among the best in the late period. That survival across fingerling period can be genetically the same, trait was indicated also by only slightly higher heritability (h2=0·15) estimated with the survival analysis of time to death during fingerling period compared to the analysis treating fingerling survival as a binary character (h2=0·11). The results imply that (1) inherited resistance against unknown mortality factors exists, but (2) ranking of genotypes changes across life stages.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Biotechnology and Food Research, Biometrical Genetics, FI-31600 Jokioinen, Finland. Tel: +358 3 4188 3606. Fax: +358 3 4188 3618. e-mail:


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Genetic architecture of rainbow trout survival from egg to adult



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