SNP genotyping reveals substructuring in weakly differentiated populations of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) from diverse environments in the Baltic Sea
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionScientific Reports. 2020, 10 (1), . 10.1038/s41598-020-66518-4
Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is one of the most important fish species in northern Europe for several reasons including its predator status in marine ecosystems, its historical role in fisheries, its potential in aquaculture and its strong public profile. However, due to over-exploitation in the North Atlantic and changes in the ecosystem, many cod populations have been reduced in size and genetic diversity. Cod populations in the Baltic Proper, Kattegat and North Sea have been analyzed using a species specific single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array. Using a subset of 8,706 SNPs, moderate genetic differences were found between subdivisions in three traditionally delineated cod management stocks: Kattegat, western and eastern Baltic. However, an FST measure of population differentiation based on allele frequencies from 588 outlier loci for 2 population groups, one including 5 western and the other 4 eastern Baltic populations, indicated high genetic differentiation. In this paper, differentiation has been demonstrated not only between, but also within western and eastern Baltic cod stocks for the first time, with salinity appearing to be the most important environmental factor influencing the maintenance of cod population divergence between the western and eastern Baltic Sea.