Accuracy of assignment of Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar L.) to rivers and regions in Scotland and Northeast England based on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. Assignment of Atlantic Salmon in Scotland and NE England using SNPs

John Gilbey, Eef Cauwelier, Mark W. Coulson, Lee Stradmeyer, James N. Sampayo, Anja Armstrong, Eric Verspoor, Laura Corrigan, Jonathan Shelley, Stuart Middlemas

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Understanding the habitat use patterns of migratory fish, such as Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.), and the natural and anthropogenic impacts on them, is aided by the ability to identify individuals to their stock of origin. Presented here are the results of an analysis of informative single nucleotide polymorphic (SNP) markers for detecting genetic structuring in Atlantic salmon in Scotland and NE England and their ability to allow accurate genetic stock identification. 3,787 fish from 147 sites covering 27 rivers were screened at 5,568 SNP markers. In order to identify a cost-effective subset of SNPs, they were ranked according to their ability to differentiate between fish from different rivers. A panel of 288 SNPs was used to examine both individual assignments and mixed stock fisheries and eighteen assignment units were defined. The results improved greatly on previously available methods and, for the first time, fish caught in the marine environment can be confidently assigned to geographically coherent units within Scotland and NE England, including individual rivers. As such, this SNP panel has the potential to aid understanding of the various influences acting upon Atlantic salmon on their marine migrations, be they natural environmental variations and/or anthropogenic impacts, such as mixed stock fisheries and interactions with marine power generation installations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2016


  • Rivers
  • Freshwater fish
  • Fisheries
  • Animal migration
  • Genetic loci
  • Fishes
  • Marine environments
  • Scotland

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