Population differentiation determined from putative neutral and divergent adaptive genetic markers in Eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus, Osmeridae), an anadromous Pacific smelt.

Candy JR, Campbell NR, Grinnell MH, Beacham TD, Larson WA, Narum SR

Twelve eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus, Osmeridae) populations ranging from Cook Inlet, Alaska and along the west coast of North America to the Columbia River were examined by restriction-site-associated DNA (RAD) sequencing to elucidate patterns of neutral and adaptive variation in this high geneflow species. A total of 4104 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were discovered across the genome, with 193 putatively adaptive SNPs as determined by FST outlier tests. Estimates of population structure in eulachon with the putatively adaptive SNPs were similar, but provided greater resolution of stocks compared with a putatively neutral panel of 3911 SNPs or previous estimates with 14 microsatellites. A cline of increasing measures of genetic diversity from south to north was found in the adaptive panel, but not in the neutral markers (SNPs or microsatellites). This may indicate divergent selective pressures in differing freshwater and marine environments between regional eulachon populations and that these adaptive diversity patterns not seen with neutral markers could be a consideration when determining genetic boundaries for conservation purposes. Estimates of effective population size (Ne ) were similar with the neutral SNP panel and microsatellites and may be utilized to monitor population status for eulachon where census sizes are difficult to obtain. Greater differentiation with the panel of putatively adaptive SNPs provided higher individual assignment accuracy compared to the neutral panel or microsatellites for stock identification purposes. This study presents the first SNPs that have been developed for eulachon, and analyses with these markers highlighted the importance of integrating genome-wide neutral and adaptive genetic variation for the applications of conservation and management.

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March, 2015


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