Genotyping of two Mediterranean trout populations in central-southern Italy for conservation purposes using a rainbow-trout-derived SNP array.
Mediterranean trout is a freshwater fish of particular interest with economic significance for fishery management, aquaculture and conservation biology. Unfortunately, native trout populations' abundance is significantly threatened by anthropogenic disturbance. The introduction of commercial hatchery strains for recreation activities has compromised the genetic integrity status of native populations. This work assessed the fine-scale genetic structure of Mediterranean trout in the two main rivers of Molise region (Italy) to support conservation actions. In total, 288 specimens were caught in 28 different sites (14 per basins) and genotyped using the Affymetrix 57 K rainbow-trout-derived SNP array. Population differentiation was analyzed using pairwise weighted FST and overall F-statistic estimated by locus-by-locus analysis of molecular variance. Furthermore, an SNP data set was processed through principal coordinates analysis, discriminant analysis of principal components and admixture Bayesian clustering analysis. Firstly, our results demonstrated that rainbow trout SNP array can be successfully used for Mediterranean trout genotyping. In fact, despite an overwhelming number of loci that resulted as monomorphic in our populations, it must be emphasized that the resulted number of polymorphic loci (i.e., ~900 SNPs) has been sufficient to reveal a fine-scale genetic structure in the investigated populations, which is useful in supporting conservation and management actions. In particular, our findings allowed us to select candidate sites for the collection of adults, needed for the production of genetically pure juvenile trout, and sites to carry out the eradication of alien trout and successive re-introduction of native trout.