• Oncorhynchus mykiss;
  • rainbow trout;
  • single-nucleotide polymorphism;
  • steelhead


Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have several advantages over other genetic markers, including lower mutation and genotyping error rates, ease of inter-laboratory standardization, and the prospect of high-throughput, low-cost genotyping. Nevertheless, their development and use has only recently moved beyond model organisms to groups such as salmonid fishes. Oncorhynchus mykiss is a salmonid native to the North Pacific rim that has now been introduced throughout the world for fisheries and aquaculture. The anadromous form of the species is known as steelhead. Native steelhead populations on the west coast of the United States have declined and many now have protected status. The nonanadromous, or resident, form of the species is termed rainbow, redband or golden trout. Additional life history and morphological variation, and interactions between the forms, make the species challenging to study, monitor and evaluate. Here, we describe the discovery, characterization and assay development for 139 SNP loci in steelhead/rainbow trout. We used EST sequences from existing genomic databases to design primers for 480 genes. Sanger-sequencing products from these genes provided 130 KB of consensus sequence in which variation was surveyed for 22 individuals from steelhead, rainbow and redband trout groups. The resulting TaqMan assays were surveyed in five steelhead populations and three rainbow trout stocks, where they had a mean minor allele frequency of 0.15–0.26 and observed heterozygosity of 0.18–0.35. Mean FST was 0.204. The development of SNPs for O. mykiss will help to provide highly informative genetic tools for individual and stock identification, pedigree reconstruction, phylogeography and ecological investigation.