Estimation of genetic parameters for growth and carcass traits in turbot (Scophthalmus maximus)
Information on phenotypic and genetic (co)variance for production traits in turbot is required to improve breeding programs. So far, information on morphometric growth traits is sparse and completely lacking on quality carcass traits like fillet weight or fillet yield for turbot. As part of a long-term study we explored the phenotypic and genetic (co)variance of 16 biometrical and carcass traits of three different European turbot strains. Fish were reared under commercial grow-out conditions, including size grading. We used molecular relatedness (MR) methods based on genotyping with 96 microsatellite markers and animal models. We included an adapted condition factor for Pleuronectiformes (FCIPLN) and average daily weight gain (ADG) between the ages of 300 and 500 d post-hatch (dph) for their potential correlation with body weight at harvest. Heritability estimates for all traits were low to medium (0.04–0.29) when strains were jointly analyzed. Separate analysis of strains yielded higher heritability estimates (0.12–0.43). Genetic correlations between weight-related traits were highly positive (0.70–0.99), while runs with yield and ratio traits often resulted in unreliable estimates of genetic correlation due to high standard errors. Body weight (h2=0.19), fillet yield (h2=0.15), and dressing percentage (h2=0.17) are particularly promising selection traits for turbot breeding.