Evidence for multiple sex-determining loci in Tasmanian Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Heredity (Edinb). 2014 Jul;113(1):86-92. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2013.55. Epub 2013 Jun 12.


Phenotypic sex in salmonids is determined primarily by a genetic male heterogametic system; yet, sex reversal can be accomplished via hormonal treatment. In Tasmanian Atlantic salmon aquaculture, to overcome problems associated with early sexual maturation in males, sex-reversed females are crossed with normal females to produce all female stock. However, phenotypic distinction of sex-reversed females (neo-males) from true males is problematic. We set out to identify genetic markers that could make this distinction. Microsatellite markers from chromosome 2 (Ssa02), to which the sex-determining locus (SEX) has been mapped in two Scottish Atlantic salmon families, did not predict sex in a pilot study of seven families. A TaqMan 64 SNP genome-wide scan suggested SEX was on Ssa06 in these families, and this was confirmed by microsatellite markers. A survey of 58 families in total representing 38 male lineages in the SALTAS breeding program found that 34 of the families had SEX on Ssa02, in 22 of the families SEX was on Ssa06, and two of the families had a third SEX locus, on Ssa03. A PCR test using primers designed from the recently published sdY gene is consistent with Tasmanian Atlantic salmon having a single sex-determining gene that may be located on at least three linkage groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaculture / methods*
  • Breeding / methods*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Salmo salar / genetics*
  • Sex Determination Processes / genetics*
  • Tasmania


  • DNA Primers
  • Genetic Markers