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The genetic consequences of hatchery-induced sperm competition in a salmonid
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Supportive breeding is an important tool in conservation management, but its long-term genetic consequences are not well understood. Among the factors that could affect the genetics of the offspring is sperm competition as a consequence of mixed-milt fertilizations - which is still a common practice in many hatcheries. Here, we measured and combined the relevant factors to predict the genetic consequences of various kinds of hatchery-induced sperm competition. We drew a random sample of male Coregonus zugensis (an Alpine whitefish) from a hatchery program and quantified their in vitro sperm potency by integrating sperm velocity during the first minute after activation, and their in vitro milt potency by multiplying sperm potency with milt volume and sperm cell density. We found that not controlling for sperm density and/or milt volume would, at a constant population size, decrease the variance effective number of male breeders N-em by around 40-50%. This loss would decrease with increasing population growth rates. Partial multifactorial breeding and the separate rearing of in total 799 batches of eggs revealed that neither sperm nor milt potency was significantly linked to egg survival. Sperm and milt potency was also not significantly correlated to other potential quality measures such as breeding tubercles or condition factor. However, sperm potency was correlated to male age and milt potency to male growth rate. Our findings suggest that hatchery-induced sperm competition not only increases the loss of genetic variation but may also induce artificial selection, depending on the fertilization protocol. By not equalizing milt volume in multi-male fertilization hatchery managers lose relatively more genetic variation and give fast-growing males a reproductive advantage, while equalizing milt volume reduces the loss of genetic variation and favors younger males who may have fast sperm to compensate for their subdominance at the spawning place. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
sperm competition sperm velocity male mating strategies reproductive investment salmonids good genes sexual selection genetically benign spawning protocols hatchery management benign spawning protocols effective population-size roach rutilus-rutilus juvenile brown trout cod gadus-morhua rainbow-trout fertilization success lepomis-macrochirus oncorhynchus-mykiss atlantic salmon
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