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Genomic Region Associated with Run Timing has Similar Haplotypes and Phenotypic Effects Across Three Lineages of Chinook Salmon

Sep 23, 2021


Conserving life-history variation is a stated goal of many management programs, but the most effective means by which to accomplish this are often far from clear. Early- and late-migrating forms of Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) face unequal pressure from natural and anthropogenic forces that may alter the impacts of genetic variation underlying heritable migration timing. Genomic regions of chromosome 28 are known to be strongly associated with migration variation in adult Chinook Salmon, but it remains unclear whether there is consistent association among diverse lineages and populations in large basins such as the Columbia River. With high-throughput genotyping (GT-seq) and phenotyping methods, we examined the association of genetic variation in 28 markers (spanning GREB1L to ROCK1 of chromosome 28) with individual adult migration timing characteristics gleaned from passive integrated transponder recordings of over 5000 Chinook Salmon from the three major phylogeographic lineages that inhabit the Columbia River Basin. Despite the strong genetic differences among them in putatively neutral genomic regions, each of the three lineages exhibited very similar genetic variants in the chromosome 28 region that were significantly associated with adult migration timing phenotypes. This is particularly notable for the interior stream-type lineage, which exhibits an earlier and more constrained freshwater entry than the other lineages. In both interior stream-type and interior ocean-type lineages of Chinook Salmon, heterozygotes of the most strongly associated linkage groups had largely intermediate migration timing relative to homozygotes, and results indicate codominance or possibly marginal partial dominance of the allele associated with early migration. Our results lend support to utilization of chromosome 28 variation in tracking and predicting run timing in these lineages of Chinook Salmon in the Columbia River.



Willis, S.C., J.E. Hess, J.K. Fryer, J.M. Whiteaker, and S.R. Narum. 2021. Genomic region associated with run timing has similar haplotypes and phenotypic effects across three lineages of Chinook Salmon. Evolutionary Applications 14(9):2273-2285. Online at



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