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Genetic coupling of life-history and aerobic performance in Atlantic salmon

By Jenni M. Prokkola, Eirik R Ã…sheim, Sergey Morozov, Paul Bangura, Jaakko Erkinaro, Annukka Ruokolainen, Craig R Primmer, Tutku Aykanat

Posted 24 Aug 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.08.23.457324

A better understanding of the genetic and phenotypic architecture underlying life-history variation is a longstanding aim in biology. Theories suggest energy metabolism determines life-history variation by modulating resource acquisition and allocation trade-offs, but the genetic underpinnings of the relationship and its dependence on ecological conditions have rarely been demonstrated. The strong genetic determination of age-at-maturity by two unlinked genomic regions (vgll3 and six6) makes Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) an ideal model to address these questions. Using more than 250 juveniles in common garden conditions, we quantified the covariation between metabolic phenotypes -- standard and maximum metabolic rates (SMR and MMR), and aerobic scope (AS) -- and the life-history genomic regions and tested if food availability modulates the relationships. We found that the early maturation genotype in vgll3 was associated with higher MMR and consequently AS. Additionally, MMR exhibited physiological epistasis; it was decreased when late maturation genotypes co-occurred in both genomic regions. Contrary to our expectation, the life-history genotypes had no effects on SMR. Further, food availability had no effect on the genetic covariation, suggesting a lack of genotype-by-environment interactions. Our results provide insights on the key organismal processes that link energy use at the juvenile-stage to age-at-maturity, indicating potential mechanisms by which metabolism and life-history can coevolve.

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