Background: Susceptibility of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) to viral nervous necrosis (VNN) is well-known. Interest towards selective breeding as a tool to enhance genetic resistance in this species has increased sharply due to the major threat represented by VNN for farmed sea bass and limitations concerning specific therapeutical measures. A sea bass experimental population (N = 650) was challenged with nervous necrosis virus (NNV) to investigate genetic variation in VNN mortality. In addition, relationships of this trait with serum cortisol concentration after stress exposure, antibody titer against NNV antigens, and body weight at a fixed age were studied to identify potential indicator traits of VNN resistance. Results: The estimate of heritability for VNN mortality was moderate and ranged from 0.15 (HPD95%, 95% highest posterior density interval: 0.02, 0.31) to 0.23 (HPD95%: 0.06, 0.47). Heritability estimates for cortisol concentration, antibody titer, and body weight were 0.19 (HPD95%: 0.07, 0.34), 0.36 (HPD95%: 0.16, 0.59) and 0.57 (HPD95%: 0.33, 0.84), respectively. Phenotypic relationships between traits were trivial and not statistically significant, except for the estimated correlation between antibody titer and body weight (0.24). Genetic correlations of mortality with body weight or antibody titer (− 0.39) exhibited a 0.89 probability of being negative. A negligible genetic correlation between mortality and cortisol concentration was detected. Antibody titer was estimated to be positively correlated with body weight (0.49). Conclusions: Antibody titer against NNV offers the opportunity to use indirect selection to enhance resistance, while the use of cortisol concentration as an indicator trait in breeding programs for VNN resistance is questionable. The estimate of heritability for VNN mortality indicates the feasibility of selective breeding to enhance resistance to NNV and raises attention to the development of genomic prediction tools to simplify testing procedures for selection candidates.

Resistance to viral nervous necrosis in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.): heritability and relationships with body weight, cortisol concentration, and antibody titer

Faggion S.
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Bertotto D.
Investigation
;
Babbucci M.
Methodology
;
Dalla Rovere G.
Methodology
;
Franch R.
Methodology
;
Pascoli F.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Toffan A.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Bargelloni L.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Carnier P.
Conceptualization
2021

Abstract

Background: Susceptibility of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) to viral nervous necrosis (VNN) is well-known. Interest towards selective breeding as a tool to enhance genetic resistance in this species has increased sharply due to the major threat represented by VNN for farmed sea bass and limitations concerning specific therapeutical measures. A sea bass experimental population (N = 650) was challenged with nervous necrosis virus (NNV) to investigate genetic variation in VNN mortality. In addition, relationships of this trait with serum cortisol concentration after stress exposure, antibody titer against NNV antigens, and body weight at a fixed age were studied to identify potential indicator traits of VNN resistance. Results: The estimate of heritability for VNN mortality was moderate and ranged from 0.15 (HPD95%, 95% highest posterior density interval: 0.02, 0.31) to 0.23 (HPD95%: 0.06, 0.47). Heritability estimates for cortisol concentration, antibody titer, and body weight were 0.19 (HPD95%: 0.07, 0.34), 0.36 (HPD95%: 0.16, 0.59) and 0.57 (HPD95%: 0.33, 0.84), respectively. Phenotypic relationships between traits were trivial and not statistically significant, except for the estimated correlation between antibody titer and body weight (0.24). Genetic correlations of mortality with body weight or antibody titer (− 0.39) exhibited a 0.89 probability of being negative. A negligible genetic correlation between mortality and cortisol concentration was detected. Antibody titer was estimated to be positively correlated with body weight (0.49). Conclusions: Antibody titer against NNV offers the opportunity to use indirect selection to enhance resistance, while the use of cortisol concentration as an indicator trait in breeding programs for VNN resistance is questionable. The estimate of heritability for VNN mortality indicates the feasibility of selective breeding to enhance resistance to NNV and raises attention to the development of genomic prediction tools to simplify testing procedures for selection candidates.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3389625
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