The European sea bass: a key marine fish model in the wild and in aquaculture

The European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) is a marine fish of key economic and cultural importance in Europe. It is now more an aquaculture than a fisheries species (>96% of the production in 2016), although modern rearing techniques date back only from the late 1980s. It also has high interest for evolutionary studies, as it is composed of two semispecies (Atlantic and Mediterranean lineages) that have come into secondary contact following the last glaciation. Based on quantitative genetics studies of most traits of interest over the past 10–15 years, selective breeding programs are now applied to this species, which is at the beginning of its domestication process. The availability of a good quality reference genome has accelerated the development of new genomic resources, including SNP arrays that will enable genomic selection to improve genetic gain. There is a need to improve feed efficiency, both for economic and environmental reasons, but this will require novel phenotyping approaches. Further developments will likely focus on the understanding of genotype‐by‐environment interactions, which will be important both for efficient breeding of farmed stocks and for improving knowledge of the evolution of natural populations. At the interface between both, the domestication process must be better understood to improve production and also to fully evaluate the possible impact of aquaculture escapees on wild populations. The latter is an important question for all large‐scale aquaculture productions.


dicentrarchus labrax, genetics, heritability, population genetics

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Table S1. Heritability estimates for different traits in European sea bass.
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Vandeputte Marc, Gagnaire P.‐A., Allal Francois (2019). The European sea bass: a key marine fish model in the wild and in aquaculture. Animal Genetics. 50 (3). 195-206.,

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