• fisheries management;
  • population genetics;
  • single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP);
  • single nucleotide polymorphism discovery;
  • Thunnus alalunga ;
  • Thunnus thynnus


The optimal management of the commercially important, but mostly over-exploited, pelagic tunas, albacore (Thunnus alalunga Bonn., 1788) and Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT; Thunnus thynnus L., 1758), requires a better understanding of population structure than has been provided by previous molecular methods. Despite numerous studies of both species, their population structures remain controversial. This study reports the development of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in albacore and BFT and the application of these SNPs to survey genetic variability across the geographic ranges of these tunas. A total of 616 SNPs were discovered in 35 albacore tuna by comparing sequences of 54 nuclear DNA fragments. A panel of 53 SNPs yielded FST values ranging from 0.0 to 0.050 between samples after genotyping 460 albacore collected throughout the distribution of this species. No significant heterogeneity was detected within oceans, but between-ocean comparisons (Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans along with Mediterranean Sea) were significant. Additionally, a 17-SNP panel was developed in Atlantic BFT by cross-species amplification in 107 fish. This limited number of SNPs discriminated between samples from the two major spawning areas of Atlantic BFT (FST = 0.116). The SNP markers developed in this study can be used to genotype large numbers of fish without the need for standardizing alleles among laboratories.