Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4725
Title: Genetic and morphological divergence in three strains of brook trout commonly stocked in Lake Superior
Author: Garrett McKinney, Anna Varian, Julie Scardina, Krista M. Nichols
Publication Year: 2014
Journal: PLoS ONE
Keywords: brook trout

 Fitness related traits often show spatial variation across populations of widely distributed species.  Comparisons of genetic variation among populations in putatively neutral DNA markers and in phenotypic traits susceptible to selection (QST FST analysis) can be used to determine to what degree differentiation among populations can be attributed to selection or genetic drift.  Traditionally, QST FST analyses require a large number of populations to achieve sufficient statistical power; however, new methods have been developed that allow QST FST comparisons to be conducted on as few as two populations if their pedigrees are informative.  This study compared genetic and morphological divergence in three strains of brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis that were historically or currently used for stocking in the Lake Superior Basin.  Herein we examined if morphological divergence among populations showed temporal variation, and if divergence could be attributed to selection or was indistinguishable from genetic drift.  Multivariate QST FST analysis showed evidence for divergent selection between populations.   Univariate analyses suggests that the pattern observed in the multivariate analyses was largely driven by divergent selection for length and weight, and moreover by divergence between the Assinica strain and each of the Iron River and Siskiwit strains rather than divergent selection between each population pair.  While it could not be determined if divergence was due to natural selection or inadvertent artificial selection in hatcheries, selected differences were consistent with patterns of domestication commonly found in salmonids.