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Title: Unidirectional trans-Atlantic gene flow and a mixed spawning area shape the genetic connectivity of Atlantic bluefin tuna
Authors: Diaz-Arce, Natalia; Gagnaire, Pierre-Alexandre; Richardson, David E.; Walter III, John F.; Arnaud-Haond, Sophie; Fromentin, Jean-Marc; Brophy, Deirdre; Lutcavage, Molly; Addis, Piero; Alemany, Francisco; Allman, Robert; Deguara, Simeon; Fraile, Igaratza; Goni, Nicolas; Hanke, Alex R.; Karakulak, F. Saadet; Pacicco, Ashley; Quattro, Joseph M.; Rooker, Jay R.; Arrizabalaga, Haritz; Rodriguez-Ezpeleta, Naiara
Abstract: The commercially important Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), a large migratory fish, has experienced notable recovery aided by accurate resource assessment and effective fisheries management efforts. Traditionally, this species has been perceived as consisting of eastern and western populations, spawning respectively in the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, with mixing occurring throughout the Atlantic. However, recent studies have challenged this assumption by revealing weak genetic differentiation and identifying a previously unknown spawning ground in the Slope Sea used by Atlantic bluefin tuna of uncertain origin. To further understand the current and past population structure and connectivity of Atlantic bluefin tuna, we have assembled a unique dataset including thousands of genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 500 larvae, young of the year and spawning adult samples covering the three spawning grounds and including individuals of other Thunnus species. Our analyses support two weakly differentiated but demographically connected ancestral populations that interbreed in the Slope Sea. Moreover, we also identified signatures of introgression from albacore (Thunnus alalunga) into the Atlantic bluefin tuna genome, exhibiting varied frequencies across spawning areas, indicating strong gene flow from the Mediterranean Sea towards the Slope Sea. We hypothesize that the observed genetic differentiation may be attributed to increased gene flow caused by a recent intensification of westward migration by the eastern population, which could have implications for the genetic diversity and conservation of western populations. Future conservation efforts should consider these findings to address potential genetic homogenization in the species.
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: WILEY
Type: Article; Early Access
DOI: 10.1111/mec.17188
ISSN: 0962-1083
E-ISSN: 1365-294X
Funder: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Basque Government
ICCAT Atlantic Wide Research Program for Bluefin Tuna (GBYP) - European Community [SI2/542789]
ICCAT Secretariat [NMFS NA11NMF4720107]
Appears in Publication types:Artículos científicos

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