In the present study, the genetic variability and relationships of the domestic populations of channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) in Sichuan Province, China were studied to determine their genetic background and provide essential data for its artificial breeding. Eight microsatellite markers were used to analyze genetic characteristics of eight channel catfish populations (POPA, POPB, POPC, POPD, POPE, POPF, POPG, and POPH). The average polymorphic information content (PIC) ranged from 0.525 (POPD) to 0.733 (POPA) indicating high polymorphism (PIC > 0.5). The average observed heterozygosity (Ho) and expected heterozygosity (He) in the eight populations ranged from 0.504 (POPH) to 0.767 (POPG) and from 0.6 (POPD) to 0.781 (POPA), respectively. The results showed that the eight populations possess considerable genetic diversity. The largest genetic differentiation (FST) among the eight populations was 0.233 (between POPB and POPD) and the lowest FST was 0.04 (between POPA and POPE). Furthermore, population structure analysis and UPGMA dendrogram suggested that there were close genetic relationships between POPA and POPE, POPA and POPG, and POPF and POPH, respectively. POPH showed serious inbreeding based on Fis analysis.
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