Academic article

Genetics of resistance to photobacteriosis in gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) using 2b-RAD sequencing

Aslam, Muhammad Luqman; Carraro, Roberta; Bestin, Anastasia; Cariou, Sophie; Sonesson, Anna Kristina; Bruant, Jean-Sébastien; Haffray, Pierrick; Bargelloni, Luca; Meuwissen, Theodorus

Publication details

Journal: BMC Genetics, vol. 19:43, p. 1–14, 2018

Publisher: BioMed Central (BMC)

International Standard Numbers:
Printed: 1471-2156
Electronic: 1471-2156

Open Access: gold



Photobacteriosis is an infectious disease developed by a Gram-negative bacterium Photobacterium damselae subsp. piscicida (Phdp), which may cause high mortalities (90–100%) in sea bream. Selection and breeding for resistance against infectious diseases is a highly valuable tool to help prevent or diminish disease outbreaks, and currently available advanced selection methods with the application of genomic information could improve the response to selection. An experimental group of sea bream juveniles was derived from a Ferme Marine de Douhet (FMD, Oléron Island, France) selected line using ~ 109 parents (~ 25 females and 84 males). This group of 1187 individuals represented 177 full-sib families with 1–49 sibs per family, which were challenged with virulent Phdp for a duration of 18 days, and mortalities were recorded within this duration. Tissue samples were collected from the parents and the recorded offspring for DNA extraction, library preparation using 2b-RAD and genotyping by sequencing. Genotypic data was used to develop a linkage map, genome wide association analysis and for the estimation of breeding values.


The analysis of genetic variation for resistance against Phdp revealed moderate genomic heritability with estimates of ~ 0.32. A genome-wide association analysis revealed a quantitative trait locus (QTL) including 11 SNPs at linkage group 17 presenting significant association to the trait with p-value crossing genome-wide Bonferroni corrected threshold P ≤ 2.22e-06. The proportion total genetic variance explained by the single top most significant SNP was ranging from 13.28–16.14% depending on the method used to compute the variance. The accuracies of predicting breeding values obtained using genomic vs. pedigree information displayed 19–24% increase when using genomic information.


The current study demonstrates that SNPs-based genotyping of a sea bream population with 2b-RAD approach is effective at capturing the genetic variation for resistance against Phdp. Prediction accuracies obtained using genomic information were significantly higher than the accuracies obtained using pedigree information which highlights the importance and potential of genomic selection in commercial breeding programs.