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A potential model system for studying the genetics of domestication: behavioral variation among wild and domesticated strains of zebra danio (Danio rerio)

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The process of domestication in fish is fundamentally important to conservation efforts because of the extensive use of hatcheries to mitigate population declines. Research into the genetic changes associated with the domestication process in many endangered species is impeded by a lack of genomic tools, long generation times, and large space requirements. The study of the genetics of fish domestication could therefore benefit from the introduction of a model system. In this paper, we document behavioral and growth rate differences observed between a domesticated laboratory strain of zebra danio (Danio rerio) and a strain newly introduced into the laboratory from its native habitat in India. Domesticated zebra danio showed a higher degree of surface orientation, a reduced startle response, and higher growth rate compared with wild zebra danio. Wild–domesticated interstrain hybrids were intermediate in phenotype for all traits. When strains were reared together, most interstrain behavioral differences were maintained, indicating a genetic basis underlying the interstrain phenotypic variation. Phenotypic differences observed in this study are consistent with the effects of domestication in other fish species, indicating that the zebra danio can be used as a model system for studying the genetics of the domestication process in fish.

Le processus de domestication chez les poissons est d'importance fondamentale dans les efforts de conservation à cause de l'utilisation répandue des piscicultures pour enrayer les déclins de population. La recherche des changements génétiques associés au processus de domestication chez plusieurs espèces menacées est enrayée par la carence d'outils génomiques, les longues durées des générations et les besoins considérables d'espace. Il serait donc avantageux pour l'étude de la génétique de la domestication des poissons de posséder un système modèle. Nous décrivons dans ce travail les différences de comportement et de taux de croissance observées entre une race domestiquée de laboratoire du zèbre (Danio rerio) et une race récemment introduite au laboratoire depuis son habitat naturel en Inde. Par comparaison aux zèbres sauvages, les zèbres domestiqués montrent un plus fort degré d'orientation en surface, une réaction mitigée de surprise et un taux de croissance plus élevé. Les hybrides entre les races sauvages et domestiquées ont un phénotype intermédiaire pour toutes les caractéristiques. Quand les races sont élevées ensemble, la plupart des différences de comportement entre les races persistent, ce qui indique que la variation phénotypique entre les races a une base génétique sous-jacente. Les différences phénotypiques observées dans notre étude correspondent aux effets de la domestication chez d'autres espèces de poissons, ce qui laisse croire que le zèbre peut être utilisé comme système modèle pour l'étude génétique du processus de domestication chez les poissons.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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