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Introgressive Hybridization Among Major Columbia River Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) Lineages Within the Klickitat River Due to Hatchery Practices

Nov 1, 2011


Major lineages of anadromous salmonids show resilience to natural introgressive hybridization; however, Klickitat River spring-run Chinook Salmon (KRSC, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) have an enigmatic origin because of their intermediate genetic and geographic relationship among Columbia River Chinook Salmon lineages. We used computer simulations to evaluate four anthropogenic and natural processes as likely causes of the apparent introgressed genetic composition of KRSC: recent admixture (~5 generations), historical admixture (>200 generations), isolation-by-distance gene flow, and natural selection. We also genotyped 2413 fish (32 collections) across 96 single nucleotide polymorphism loci to clarify the relationship of KRSC among the three major Columbia River lineages (Lower Columbia and interior ocean- and stream types) and to quantify introgression among collections. Between 1980 and 2000, we observed a decline of pure interior stream-type individuals in the KRSC collections. This temporal shift in genetic composition was coincident with relevant changes in hatchery practices. Based on results from the simulations and time-series samples, a recent and anthropogenically caused admixture was most likely responsible for introgression of KRSC. Potential long-term negative effects of introgression may require some form of mitigation.


Jon Hess, Andrew Matala, Joseph Zendt, and Chris Frederiksen


Hess, J.E., A.P. Matala, J.S. Zendt, C.R. Frederiksen, B. Sharp, and S.R. Narum. 2011. Introgressive hybridization among major Columbia River Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) lineages within the Klickitat River due to hatchery practices. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 68(11):1876-1891. Online at



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Journal Article