The notion that cultured fishes develop a morphology that differs from their wild conspecifics has become nearly axiomatic. A commonly supervened corollary is that exposure to culture causes predictable and consistent morphological changes that together form a common “cultured phenotype”. While this is often asserted, it has not been formally tested. We conducted a systematic review of the literature based on PRISMA best practice protocols and identified 65 papers, composed of 106 studies that compared the morphology of 39 species of cultured fish to their wild conspecifics. From this we conducted a meta-analysis of quantitative, and vote-counting analysis of qualitative differences in 16 external morphological features and condition factor. Our results confirm that aspects of a general “cultured phenotype” exist. The meta-analysis analysis revealed that cultured fish had shorter heads, upper jaws and fins, and the vote-counting analysis was suggestive of this as well. The vote-counting analysis showed that across all studies cultured fish had greater body depth and condition factor than wild fish, but this was not supported by the meta-analysis. In addition to matching those required to develop the “cultured phenotype”, the detected morphological changes are consistent with experimentally observed plastic responses to conditions typical of the cultured environment. This is discussed, as is how the observed changes may be influenced or reinforced by intentional and unintentional selection.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: May 19, 2016
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