The replacement of fish oil and fishmeal with plant ingredients in the diet of farmed Atlantic salmon has reduced the levels of the health-promoting long chain omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFAs) EPA and DHA of their filets. Previous studies have shown that there is potential in using selective breeding as a tool to increase levels of n-3 LC-PUFAs in salmon tissues, but there is a lack of knowledge on the genetic parameters of individual muscle fatty acids and their relationships to other traits. In this study, genetic parameters of muscle fatty acid composition were estimated with the aim of evaluating the selection potential for increased n-3 LC-PUFA in Atlantic salmon muscle. The results showed that individual muscle FAs differed in heritability and correlations to other traits. The heritability of DHA was high (0.26), while EPA was lower (0.09). The content of EPA and DHA in the muscle was connected to body fat deposition, but in different ways; EPA had a positive correlation to muscle fat, while DHA had a high positive genetic correlation to visceral fat (0.61). DHA is the most abundant n-3 LC-PUFA in the salmon muscle, and was the FA with the highest heritability. An increased amount of DHA can be achieved by selecting for increased absolute content of DHA or DHA in percentage of total FAs, but they both have undesirable genetic correlations to different lipid related traits that must be considered. Keywords: Atlantic salmon, omega-3 fatty acids, selection
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume Biology - Growth and Development, , 283, 2018
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