Genetic Effects of Captive Breeding Cause a Rapid, Cumulative Fitness Decline in the Wild

  title={Genetic Effects of Captive Breeding Cause a Rapid, Cumulative Fitness Decline in the Wild},
  author={Hitoshi Araki and Becky Cooper and Michael Scott Blouin},
  pages={100 - 103}
Captive breeding is used to supplement populations of many species that are declining in the wild. The suitability of and long-term species survival from such programs remain largely untested, however. We measured lifetime reproductive success of the first two generations of steelhead trout that were reared in captivity and bred in the wild after they were released. By reconstructing a three-generation pedigree with microsatellite markers, we show that genetic effects of domestication reduce… 

Genetic adaptation to captivity can occur in a single generation

It is demonstrated that a single generation in captivity can result in a substantial response to selection on traits that are beneficial in captivity but severely maladaptive in the wild.

Transgenerational Effects of Parental Rearing Environment Influence the Survivorship of Captive‐Born Offspring in the Wild

Whether the exposure of captive-reared Atlantic salmon to natural river environments during early life can serve as a mitigation technique to improve the survivorship of descendents in the wild is tested.

Assortative mating among animals of captive and wild origin following experimental conservation releases

It is suggested that captive breeding may affect mating preferences, with potentially adverse implications for the success of threatened species reintroduction programmes.

Carry-over effect of captive breeding reduces reproductive fitness of wild-born descendants in the wild

The results suggest a significant carry-over effect of captive breeding, which has negative influence on the size of the wild population in the generation after supplementation, in this population of steelhead trout.

Genetic impacts of conservation management actions in a critically endangered parrot species

The study suggests that translocation of wild individuals into captivity, from wild populations in decline, can potentially have deleterious lasting impacts on genetic diversity levels in these populations, but also confirms that in captivity, founder diversity can be successfully preserved over time, and addition of wild founders can improve captive population health.

Early male maturity explains a negative correlation in reproductive success between hatchery‐spawned salmon and their naturally spawning progeny

A large three‐generation pedigree of an artificially supplemented salmon population is evaluated, and it is found that the fish with the highest reproductive success in captivity produce early maturing male offspring that have lower than average reproductivesuccess in the wild.

Captive-bred Atlantic salmon released into the wild have fewer offspring than wild-bred fish and decrease population productivity

Analysis of data on Atlantic salmon from an intensely studied catchment finds that intentional stocking, or non-intentional escapees, threaten, rather than enhance, recipient natural populations.

Offspring survival changes over generations of captive breeding

Analysis of pedigree data on 15 long-running vertebrate breeding programs reveals that responses to captivity could not be predicted from species’ evolutionary relationships, and generational fitness changes that cannot be explained by known processes are occurring.

Maternal effects can inflate rate of adaptation to captivity

  • M. Matos
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2012
Christie et al. (3) inferred evolutionary change in a single generation of maintenance in captivity of a wild steelhead population by using a multigenerational pedigree analysis to demonstrate that domestication selection can explain the precipitous decline in fitness observed in hatchery steelhead released into the Hood River in Oregon.

Captive breeding and the genetic fitness of natural populations

The results suggest that the apparent short-term demographic advantages of a supplementation program can be quite deceiving and that long-term supplementation programs are expected to result in genetic transformations that can eventually lead to natural populations that are no longer capable of sustaining themselves.

Rapid Evolution of Egg Size in Captive Salmon

In chinook salmon, hatchery rearing relaxes natural selection favoring large eggs, allowing fecundity selection to drive exceptionally rapid evolution of small eggs, and trends toward small eggs are also evident in natural populations heavily supplemented by hatcheries, but not in minimally supplemented populations.

Selection in Captivity during Supportive Breeding May Reduce Fitness in the Wild

  • M. Ford
  • Environmental Science, Biology
  • 2002
The results show that selection in captivity may significantly reduce a wild population's fitness during supportive breeding and that even continually introducing wild individuals into the captive population will not eliminate this effect entirely.

Reproductive Success of Captive‐Bred Steelhead Trout in the Wild: Evaluation of Three Hatchery Programs in the Hood River

These are the first data to show that a supplementation program with native brood stock can provide a single‐generation boost to the size of a natural steelhead population without obvious short‐term fitness costs.

Selection equilibrium for hatchery and wild spawning fitness in integrated breeding programs

This work model phenotypic evolution in the integrated population to investigate the effects on natural spawning fitness at the joint selection and demographic equilibrium and finds a potential, but not a certainty, for substantial erosion of natural spawning Fitness compared with the original wild population.

Genetic Differences in Growth and Survival of Juvenile Hatchery and Wild Steelhead Trout, Salmo gairdneri

The hatchery fish were genetically different from wild fish and when they interbreed with wild fish may reduce the number of smolts produced, and hatchery procedures can be modified to reduce the genetic differences between hatchery and wild fish.

Lifetime success and interactions of farm salmon invading a native population

It is indicated that such annual invasions of farm salmon have the potential for impacting on population productivity, disrupting local adaptations and reducing the genetic diversity of wild salmon populations.

Introduction to Conservation Genetics

Using molecular genetics in forensics and to understand species biology, the broader context: Population Viability Analysis (PVA) is examined.


  • D. Reznick
  • Biology
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 1981
Offspring size is a critical life history parameter because it limits the number of offspring a female can produce without increasing reproductive effort and is associated with intraspecific competitive ability of the offspring.