Genetic architecture and genomic selection of fatty acid composition predicted by Raman spectroscopy in rainbow trout
In response to major challenges regarding the supply and sustainability of marine ingredients in aquafeeds, the aquaculture industry has made a large-scale shift toward plant-based substitutions for fish oil and fish meal. But, this also led to lower levels of healthful n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)-especially eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids-in flesh. One potential solution is to select fish with better abilities to retain or synthesise PUFAs, to
... ase the efficiency of aquaculture and promote the production of healthier fish products. To this end, we aimed i) to estimate the genetic variability in fatty acid (FA) composition in visceral fat quantified by Raman spectroscopy, with respect to both individual FAs and groups under a feeding regime with limited n-3 PUFAs; ii) to study the genetic and phenotypic correlations between FAs and processing yields- and fat-related traits; iii) to detect QTLs associated with FA composition and identify candidate genes; and iv) to assess the efficiency of genomic selection compared to pedigree-based BLUP selection. Proportions of the various FAs in fish were indirectly estimated using Raman scattering spectroscopy. Fish were genotyped using the 57 K SNP Axiom™ Trout Genotyping Array. Following quality control, the final analysis contained 29,652 SNPs from 1382 fish. Heritability estimates for traits ranged from 0.03 ± 0.03 (n-3 PUFAs) to 0.24 ± 0.05 (n-6 PUFAs), confirming the potential for genomic selection. n-3 PUFAs are positively correlated to a decrease in fat deposition in the fillet and in the viscera but negatively correlated to body weight. This highlights the potential interest to combine selection on FA and against fat deposition to improve nutritional merit of aquaculture products. Several QTLs were identified for FA composition, containing multiple candidate genes with indirect links to FA metabolism. In particular, one region on Omy1 was associated with n-6 PUFAs, monounsaturated FAs, linoleic acid, and EPA, while a region on Omy7 had effects on n-6 PUFAs, EPA, and linoleic acid. When we compared the effectiveness of breeding programmes based on genomic selection (using a reference population of 1000 individuals related to selection candidates) or on pedigree-based selection, we found that the former yielded increases in selection accuracy of 12 to 120% depending on the FA trait. This study reveals the polygenic genetic architecture for FA composition in rainbow trout and confirms that genomic selection has potential to improve EPA and DHA proportions in aquaculture species.