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A Validation of Parentage-based Tagging Using Hatchery Steelhead in the Snake River Basin

Jun 24, 2013


Parentage-based tagging (PBT) is a promising alternative to traditional coded-wire tag (CWT) methodologies for monitoring and evaluating hatchery stocks. This approach involves the genotyping of hatchery broodstock and uses parentage assignments to identify the origin and brood year of their progeny. In this study we empirically confirmed that fewer than 100 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were needed to accurately conduct PBT, we demonstrated that our selected panel of SNPs was comparable in accuracy to a panel of microsatellites, and we verified that stock assignments made with this panel matched those made using CWTs. We also demonstrated that when sampling of spawners was incomplete, an estimated PBT rate for the offspring could also be predicted with fewer than 100 SNPs. This study in the Snake River basin is one of the first large-scale implementations of PBT in salmonids and lays the foundation for adopting this technology more broadly in the region, thereby allowing the unprecedented ability to mark millions of smolts and an opportunity to address a variety of parentage-based research and management questions.


Craig Steele, Eric Anderson, Michael Ackerman, Maureen Hess, Nathan Campbell, Shawn Narum, and Matthew Campbell


Steele, C.A., E.C. Anderson, M.W. Ackerman, M.A. Hess, N.R. Campbell, S.R. Narum, and M.R. Campbell. 2013. A validation of parentage-based tagging using hatchery steelhead in the Snake River Basin. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic 70(7):1046–1054. Online at



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Journal Article