Propagated Fish in Resource Management

Genetic Diversity, Kinship Analysis, and Broodstock Management of Captive Atlantic Sturgeon for Population Restoration

Anne P. Henderson, Adrian P. Spidle, and Tim L. King


Abstract.—Captive Atlantic sturgeon Acipenser oxyrinchus considered for use as broodstock in a restoration program were genotyped using nuclear DNA microsatellites and compared to wild collections from the Hudson River, New York (source of parents of the captive sturgeon) and from Albemarle Sound, North Carolina. Because the potential broodfish were the progeny of a small number of parents, maintaining genetic diversity and minimizing inbreeding is essential to a successful breeding and supplementation program. The microsatellite loci used in this analysis generated unique multilocus genotypes for each of 136 Atlantic sturgeon. Analyses indicated significant genetic separation between the New York and North Carolina collections and correctly identified the potential broodstock as a subset of the Hudson River population. Pairwise genetic distance (–ln proportion of shared alleles) between half and full siblings in the potential broodfish was as great as 1.386, a value exceeded by only 36% of the sampled broodfish pairs available for mating. Because the current broodstock population does not seem to have deviated far from their ancestral population in the Hudson River, progeny from that broodstock, or the parents themselves, would seem to be genetically suitable for release back into the Hudson River.