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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Forage Seed and Cereal Research » Research » Research Project #426728

Research Project: Identification of Genetic Factors Associated with the Expression and Regulation of Economically Important Traits in Cultured Pacific Oysters

Location: Forage Seed and Cereal Research

Project Number: 2072-31000-005-01-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2014
End Date: Jun 30, 2019

The objective of this cooperative research project is to identify genetic factors associated with the expression and regulation of economically important traits in cultured Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) and to use this information to develop marker-assisted selection technology that enhances broodstock development with improved characteristics such as growth rate, reproduction, survival, disease resistance, and product quality. Information will be utilized from existing archived samples and genetic maps and new information will be contributed to mapping databases by developing markers and associations between markers and performance for traits of economic importance. The development of these tools will enable the integration of marker-assisted selection with traditional breeding approaches to provide the shellfish industry with improved genetic stock. The program is dependent upon coordination with the Oregon State University (OSU) shellfish program at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC), an administrative unit of Oregon State University.

The levels of genetic (co)variation available in existing and potential shellfish germplasm resources for economically important phenotypic characters as well as the number of loci contributing to these traits and the nature of their effects (genetic architecture) will be examined through quantitative and molecular genetic approaches. These include reconstructing and verifying pedigrees of broodstock animals using molecular markers, traditional quantitative genetic variance partitioning among families of animals of known relatedness and quantitative trait locus mapping. The patterns of available genetic (co)variation and genetic architecture are critical information for the design and execution of effective selection protocols for genetic improvement. Identifying genetic markers contributing to economically important traits will enable the development of selection strategies to improve the efficiency of breeding by allowing direct selection of favorable genotypes and by reducing the interval between spawning and selection and the need to maintain undesirable genotypes through the entire life cycle. The development of improved germplasm will require multiple generations of breeding and family development; these crosses will be determined and produced cooperatively by the OSU and USDA, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), team.