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Background: Winter migration of immature brown trout (Salmo trutta) into freshwater rivers has been hypothesized to result from physiologically stressful combinations of high salinity and low temperature in the sea. Results: We sampled brown trout from two Danish populations entering different saline conditions and quantified expression of the hsp70 and Na/K-ATPases alpha 1b genes following acclimation to freshwater and full-strength seawater at 2 degrees C and 10 degrees C. An interaction effect of low temperature and high salinity on expression of both hsp70 and Na/K-ATPase alpha 1b was found in trout from the river entering high saline conditions, while a temperature independent up-regulation of both genes in full-strength seawater was found for trout entering marine conditions with lower salinities. Conclusion: Overall our results support the hypothesis that physiologically stressful conditions in the sea drive sea-run brown trout into freshwater rivers in winter. However, our results also demonstrate intra-specific differences in expression of important stress and osmoregulative genes most likely reflecting adaptive differences between trout populations on a regional scale, thus strongly suggesting local adaptations driven by the local marine environment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Genetics
Pages (from-to)12
StatePublished - 2008
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 19
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ID: 4819092