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Research Project: Integrated Research to Improve Aquatic Animal Health in Warmwater Aquaculture

Location: Aquatic Animal Health Research

Title: Genetic (co)variation between harvest weight and resistance to both Streptococcus iniae and S. agalactiae capsular type Ib in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)

Author
item Lafrentz, Benjamin
item LOZANO, CARLOS - Akvaforsk Genetic Center As
item Shoemaker, Craig
item Garcia, Julio
item OSPINA-ARANGO, JOSE - Akvaforsk Genetic Center As
item RYE, MORTEN - Akvaforsk Genetic Center As

Submitted to: Aquaculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/13/2020
Publication Date: 7/23/2020
Citation: Lafrentz, B.R., Lozano, C.A., Shoemaker, C.A., Garcia, J.C., Ospina-Arango, J.F., Rye, M. 2020. Genetic (co)variation between harvest weight and resistance to both Streptococcus iniae and S. agalactiae capsular type Ib in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Aquaculture. 529:735726. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquaculture.2020.735726.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquaculture.2020.735726

Interpretive Summary: Intensification of tilapia production has resulted in disease outbreaks that negatively affect commercial fish farmers. Two bacterial pathogens that commonly causes losses in tilapia production are Streptococcus iniae and S. agalactiae. Control and prevention of these can be difficult and requires an integrated fish health management approach consisting of management practices, use of antibiotics, and vaccination. Our collaborative research group has been evaluating selectively breeding tilapia for disease resistance as a complimentary strategy to improve health and performance. We previously published research results on determining the heritability of resistance to S. iniae and S. agalactiae, which indicated promise for genetic improvement of tilapia for resistance to these pathogens through selective breeding. Another important trait to consider is growth, and it was unknown whether there were any relationships between resistance to these pathogens and growth of tilapia. In this study, we report on an extensive data set (8 generations) of growth data and Streptococcus challenges. The results demonstrated there is no relationship between growth and resistance to Streptococcus sp. And verified previous results demonstrating heritability of resistance to S. agalactiae Ib and S. iniae through positive assortative mating. These results are important for the selective breeding program and demonstrate that multi-trait selection is needed to balance growth and resistance to both Streptococcus sp. to provide commercial tilapia farmers with a fast-growing fish with reduced susceptibilities to these two important pathogens.

Technical Abstract: Two bacterial pathogens that impact worldwide tilapia production through direct mortalities and treatment costs are Streptococcus iniae and S. agalactiae. An economically important trait is rapid growth; however, it is not known if this trait is correlated to Streptococcus disease resistance. The objectives of this study were to: 1) determine the relationship between growth of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and survival to both S. iniae and S. agalactiae capsular type Ib; 2) verify previous results demonstrating heritability of resistance to S. agalactiae Ib and S. iniae through positive assortative mating; and 3) determine the response to selection obtained from genetic trend analysis and estimates of heritability. Data from eight generations of tilapia were used in this study including growth data for all generations, S. iniae mortality data from three generations, and S. agalactiae Ib mortality data from five generations. Additive genetic variation was found for all three traits: harvest weight heritability was 0.23, S. iniae heritability was 0.43 and S. agalactiae heritability was 0.21. Significant random effects common to full-sibs were found for all traits and were of higher magnitude for harvest weight (c2 = 0.11) than for both S. iniae (c2 = 0.04) and S. agalactiae (c2 = 0.05). The genetic correlation between harvest weight and S. iniae survival was low (rg = 0.15 ± 0.12) and not significantly different from zero. The genetic correlation between harvest weight and S. agalactiae Ib survival was intermediate and negative, but not significantly different from zero (rg = -0.21 ± 0.11), suggesting there is no relationship between growth and resistance to Streptococcus sp. These results demonstrate that multi-trait selection is needed to balance growth and resistance to both Streptococcus sp. to provide commercial tilapia farmers with a fast-growing fish with reduced susceptibilities to these two important pathogens.