Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

The Swedish Arctic charr breeding programme

Nilsson Jan, Brännäs Eva, Eriksson Lars-Ove


Results and experiences from a selective breeding programme aiming at improving the performance of an Arctic charr strain in aquaculture are presented. The programme, which has been running since 1985, uses traditional quantitative genetic methods based on relatedness and trait measurements. Traits considered included growth, age at sexual maturity, flesh colour, fat content and other features. Estimates in the early phase of the programme showed promising heritabilities for most traits, e.g. growth heritabilities of 0.34-0.52, and suggested that improvement by selection was feasible. Several traits such as a high rate of early maturation and poor flesh colour that were considered problematic by the Arctic charr farming industry at the programme's start no longer hamper farming. Considerable improvement of growth by selection, estimated at 8% per generation, has contributed to shortening the production cycle in commercial farming. Results from studies of genotype-environment interactions are presented and discussed. Poor survival of fertilised eggs is a major problem in Swedish Arctic charr farming as indicated by presented survival rates. Efforts have consistently been made to avoid inbreeding in the selected strain, and at the present seventh generation the accumulated increase in inbreeding is estimated from pedigree data to be only approximately 5%.

Published in

2010, Volume: 650, number: 1, pages: 275-282
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)