Characterization of Genetic and Epigenetic Variation in Sperm and Red Blood Cells from Adult Hatchery and Natural-Origin Steelhead, Oncorhynchus my…

A new interesting article has been published in G3 (Bethesda). 2018 Nov 6;8(11):3723-3736. doi: 10.1534/g3.118.200458. and titled:

Characterization of Genetic and Epigenetic Variation in Sperm and Red Blood Cells from Adult Hatchery and Natural-Origin Steelhead, Oncorhynchus my…

Authors of this article are:

Gavery MR, Nichols KM, Goetz GW, Middleton MA, Swanson P.

A summary of the article is shown below:

While the goal of most conservation hatchery programs is to produce fish that are genetically and phenotypically indistinguishable from the wild stocks they aim to restore, there is considerable evidence that salmon and steelhead reared in hatcheries differ from wild fish in phenotypic traits related to fitness. Some evidence suggests that these phenotypic differences have a genetic basis (e.g., domestication selection) but another likely mechanism that remains largely unexplored is that differences between hatchery and wild populations arise as a result of environmentally-induced heritable epigenetic change. As a first step toward understanding the potential contribution of these two possible mechanisms, we describe genetic and epigenetic variation in hatchery and natural-origin adult steelhead, Oncorhynchus mykiss, from the Methow River, WA. Our main objectives were to determine if hatchery and natural-origin fish could be distinguished genetically and whether differences in epigenetic programming (DNA methylation) in somatic and germ cells could be detected between the two groups. Genetic analysis of 72 fish using 936 SNPs generated by Restriction Site Associated DNA Sequencing (RAD-Seq) did not reveal differentiation between hatchery and natural-origin fish at a population level. We performed Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing (RRBS) on a subset of 10 hatchery and 10 natural-origin fish and report the first genome-wide characterization of somatic (red blood cells (RBCs)) and germ line (sperm) derived DNA methylomes in a salmonid, from which we identified considerable tissue-specific methylation. We identified 85 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in RBCs and 108 DMRs in sperm of steelhead reared for their first year in a hatchery environment compared to those reared in the wild. This work provides support that epigenetic mechanisms may serve as a link between hatchery rearing and adult phenotype in steelhead; furthermore, DMRs identified in germ cells (sperm) highlight the potential for these changes to be passed on to future generations.

Check out the article’s website on Pubmed for more information:



This article is a good source of information and a good way to become familiar with topics such as:

DNA methylation;epigenetics;genetic variation;hatchery;steelhead

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