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J Aquat Anim Health. 2008 Dec;20(4):225-35. doi: 10.1577/H08-028.1.

Decreased mortality of Lake Michigan Chinook salmon after bacterial kidney disease challenge: evidence for pathogen-driven selection?

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  • 1U.S. Geological Survey, Western Fisheries Research Center, 6505 Northeast 65th Street, Seattle, Washington 98115, USA.


In the late 1960s, Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha from the Green River, Washington, were successfully introduced into Lake Michigan. During spring from 1988 to 1992, large fish die-offs affecting Chinook salmon occurred in the lake. Multiple ecological factors probably contributed to the severity of the fish kills, but the only disease agent found regularly was Renibacterium salmoninarum, the causative agent of bacterial kidney disease. In this study, survival after challenge by R. salmoninarum was compared between two Chinook salmon stocks: a Lake Michigan stock from Wisconsin (WI) and the progenitor stock from the Green River. We found that the WI stock had significantly greater survival than the Green River stock. Next, the WI and Green River stocks were exposed to the marine pathogen Listonella anguillarum (formerly Vibrio anguillarum), one of the causative agents of vibriosis; survival after this challenge was significantly poorer for the WI stock than for the Green River stock. A close genetic relationship between the Green River and WI stocks was confirmed by analyzing 13 microsatellite loci. These results collectively suggest that disease susceptibility of Lake Michigan Chinook salmon has diverged from that of the source population, possibly in response to pathogen-driven selection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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