The genetic architecture of correlations among growth‐related traits and male age at maturation in rainbow trout
Heritabilities and genetic correlations among growth‐related traits of two cultured strains (Rainbow Springs and Spring Valley) of rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss were estimated using restricted maximum likelihood methods with a three‐generation pedigree. Heritability was high (>0·50 ± 0·03) for body mass and condition factor but moderate (0·35 ± 0·04) for age at sexual maturity in males. Body mass and age at sexual maturation were phenotypically correlated in the families of one experimental strain, Rainbow Springs, and had a positive genetic correlation (0·26 ± 0·03) across families from both test strains (Rainbow Springs and Spring Valley). This indicates that faster growing individuals were more likely to mature at 2 years of age than slower growing individuals in the two hatchery strains investigated. Microsatellite markers of body mass quantitative tract loci (QTL) were reconfirmed as being located on linkage groups B, G, N, 5 and new markers on Oi were detected. Some QTL effects were restricted to specific sampling dates suggesting temporal expression of QTL. QTL for condition factor were limited to linkage group G in both strains. Three suggestive QTL for precocious maturation mapped to similar regions as those for body mass in the Rainbow Springs families while no associations were evident in the Spring Valley families. The results suggest that these regions may play a role in the basis for genetic and phenotypic correlations between body mass and precocious maturation in this species.