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Heredity (Edinb). 2002 Oct;89(4):311-7.

Heritability and Y-chromosome influence in the jack male life history of chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha).

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Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, and the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Windsor, 401 Sunset Ave, Ontario, Canada, N9B 3P4.


Jacking in chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) is an alternative reproductive strategy in which males sexually mature at least 1 year before other members of their year class. We characterize the genetic component of this reproductive strategy using two approaches; hormonal phenotypic sex manipulation, and a half-sib breeding experiment. We 'masculinized' chinook salmon larvae with testosterone, reared them to first maturation, identified jacks and immature males based on phenotype, and genotyped all fish as male ('XY') or female ('XX') using PCR-based Y-chromosome markers. The XY males had a much higher incidence of jacking than the XX males (30.8% vs 9.9%). There was no difference in body weight, gonad weight, and plasma concentrations of testosterone and 17beta-estradiol between the two jack genotypes, although XY jacks did have a higher gonadosomatic index (GSI) than XX jacks. In the second experiment, we bred chinook salmon in two modified half-sib mating designs, and scored the number of jacks and immature fish at first maturation. Heritability of jacking was estimated using two ANOVA models: dams nested within sires, and sires nested within dams with one-half of the half-sib families common to the two models. The sire component of the additive genetic variance yielded a high heritability estimate and was significantly higher than the dam component (h(2)(sire) = 0.62 +/- 0.21; h(2)(dam) = -0.14 +/- 0.12). Our experiments both indicated a strong sex-linked component (Y-chromosome) to jacking in chinook salmon, although evidence for at least some autosomal contribution was also observed.

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