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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2009 Nov-Dec;164(2-3):175-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2009.05.015. Epub 2009 May 27.

Domestication causes large-scale effects on gene expression in rainbow trout: analysis of muscle, liver and brain transcriptomes.

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Centre for Aquaculture and Environmental Research, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 4160 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Domestication has produced faster-growing strains of animals for use in agriculture, but selection has been applied with little knowledge of the underlying genetic changes that arose throughout the process. Mammals and birds have been domesticated for thousands of years whereas fish have been domesticated only recently; therefore, wild progenitor strains remain for comparison. Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) have undergone intensive selection and domesticated strains grow more rapidly than extant wild strains. To assess physiological pathways altered by domestication, whole-genome mRNA expression was measured in brain, muscle and liver of size-matched domestic and wild trout using a 16K (cGRASP) salmonid microarray. A large number of genes differed between strains, ranging from 3% of genes in brain to 9% in muscle. Domestic fish had more down-regulated genes in the brain relative to wild fish, whereas more genes were up-regulated in domestic liver and muscle. Relative to wild fish, there was a down-regulation of cell division and an up-regulation of structural genes in the brain of domestic fish. In liver from domestic fish, there was an up-regulation of genes related to transport with a down-regulation of lipid binding. Analysis of the functional categories for muscle indicated that most pathways, including pathways related to metabolism and catabolism, were up-regulated in domestic fish. Comparison of these results to other genomic studies on transgenic, domestic and wild salmonids suggests that similar physiological pathways are altered systemically to support faster rates of growth, regardless of the underlying genetic alteration that has caused the altered growth.

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