Environmental Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance: Hatchery Impacts on Steelhead Trout Populations

Join us for the next webinar in our Conservation Webinar Series on July 15, at 07:00 p.m.!

Presenter Michael K. Skinner, Ph.D., Eastlick Distinguished Professor at the Center for Reproductive Biology, School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University will be presenting on the following topic:

Environmental factors suchh as nutrition, stress, and toxicants can influence epigenetic programming and phenotypes of a wide variety of species from plants to humans. The current study was designed to investigate the impacts of hatchery spawning and rearing on steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) versus the wild fish on a molecular level. Additionally, epigenetic differences between feeding practices that allow slow growth (two year) and fast growth (one year) hatchery trout were investigated.

The sperm and red blood cells (RBC) from adult male slow growth/maturation hatchery steelhead, fast growth/maturation hatchery steelhead, and wild (natural-origin) steelhead were collected for DNA preparation to investigate potential alterations in differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs) and genetic mutations, involving copy number variations (CNVs). The sperm and RBC DNA both had a large number of DMRs when comparing the hatchery versus wild steelhead trout populations. The DMRs were cell type specific with negligible overlap.

Slow growth/maturation compared to fast growth/maturation steelhead also had a larger number of DMRs in the RBC samples. A number of the DMRs had associated genes that were correlated to various biological processes and pathologies. Observations demonstrate a major epigenetic programming difference between the hatchery and wild natural-origin fish populations, but negligible genetic differences.

Therefore, hatchery conditions and growth/maturation rate can alter the epigenetic developmental programming of the steelhead trout. Interestingly, epigenetic alterations in the sperm allows for potential epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of phenotypic variation to future generations.

The impacts of hatchery exposures are not only important to consider on the fish exposed, but also on future generations and evolutionary trajectory of fish in the river populations.

Recording of the Webinar

Alternatively, you may watch the Facebook Live.


I am interested in attending the webinar but unable to join on July 15. Will the webinar be recorded? 

Yes! The webinar will be recorded and the link will be sent to all registrants.

I have registered for the Zoom webinar but I am unable to attend. How do I receive a recording of the webinar? 

No problem, 24 hours after the Zoom webinar has ended, all registrants will receive an email with the link to the recording on YouTube.

Will my questions be responded to? 

We give our best to respond to all questions coming in from Zoom and Facebook during the webinar. However, due to time constraints, we offer to collect the questions that were not responded to and upload the responses to them after the webinar on the Conservation Webinar Series webpage under “Previous Webinars”.

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