Family-Based Breeding Plan in the Adriatic sturgeon

A new breeding plan, based on the genetic characterization of the largest existing broodstock of Adriatic sturgeon (Acipenser naccariiwas proposed. Taking into account the tetraploidy of the Adriatic sturgeon, the plan tries to minimize inbreeding and to maximize the fraction of available genetic diversity that will be transmitted to stocks that will be released in the wild, as well as to future generations of captive breeders. This is done by planning crosses among familiar groups instead of single individuals. Some additional breeders must be analyzed and included in the proposed plan as soon as the respective owner will decide to be part of this "trans-stock" project. Here below the abstract and the direct link to the pdf are reported.

In species with long life cycles and discontinuous availability of individuals to reproduction, implementing a long-term captive breeding program can be difficult or impossible. In such cases, managing diversity among familiar groups instead of individuals could become a suitable approach to avoid inbreeding and increase the possibility to accomplish a breeding scheme. This is the case of several sturgeon species including the Adriatic sturgeon, whose recovery depends on the management of a few captive stocks directly descended from the same group of wild parents. In the present study, relatedness among 445 potential breeders was inferred with a novel software for pedigree reconstruction in tetraploids (“BreedingSturgeons”). This information was used to plan a breeding scheme considering familiar groups as breeding units and identifying mating priorities. A two-step strategy is proposed: a short-term breeding program, relying on the 13 remaining F0 individuals of certain wild origin; and a long-term plan based on F1 families. Simulations to evaluate the loss of alleles in the F2 generation under different pairing strategies and assess the number of individuals to breed, costs and logistical aquaculture constraints were performed. The strategy proposed is transferable to the several other tetraploid sturgeon species on the brink of extinction.

The paper is available at the PLOS ONE web-site at the following link: