A genome-wide association study identifies multiple regions associated with head size in catfish

Xin Geng, Shikai Liu, Jun Yao, Lisui Bao, Jiaren Zhang, Chao Li, Ruijia Wang, Jin Sha, Peng Zeng, Degui Zhi, Zhanjiang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Skull morphology is fundamental to evolution and the biological adaptation of species to their environments. With aquaculture fish species, head size is also important for economic reasons because it has a direct impact on fillet yield. However, little is known about the underlying genetic basis of head size. Catfish is the primary aquaculture species in the United States. In this study, we performed a genome-wide association study using the catfish 250K SNP array with backcross hybrid catfish to map the QTL for head size (head length, head width, and head depth). One significantly associated region on linkage group (LG) 7 was identified for head length. In addition, LGs 7, 9, and 16 contain suggestively associated regions for head length. For head width, significantly associated regions were found on LG9, and additional suggestively associated regions were identified on LGs 5 and 7. No region was found associated with head depth. Head size genetic loci were mapped in catfish to genomic regions with candidate genes involved in bone development. Comparative analysis indicated that homologs of several candidate genes are also involved in skull morphology in various other species ranging from amphibian to mammalian species, suggesting possible evolutionary conservation of those genes in the control of skull morphologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3389-3398
Number of pages10
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Fish
  • GWAS
  • GenPred
  • Genomic
  • Head size
  • Hybrid
  • QTL
  • Resources
  • Selection
  • Shared data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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