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Research Project: Genetic Improvement Of Marine Fish and Shellfish

Location: National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center

Title: Developing tools for the study of molluscanimmunity: The sequencing of the genome of the eastern oyster, Crassostreavirginica

item GOMEZ-CHIARRI, MARTA - University Of Rhode Island
item WARREN, WESLEY - Washington University School Of Medicine
item GUO, XIMING - Rutgers University
item Proestou, Dina

Submitted to: Fish and Shellfish Immunology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/6/2015
Publication Date: 5/14/2015
Citation: Gomez-Chiarri, M., Warren, W., Guo, X., Proestou, D.A. 2015. Developing tools for the study of molluscanimmunity: The sequencing of the genome of the eastern oyster, Crassostreavirginica. Fish and Shellfish Immunology. 46(1), pp. 2-4.

Interpretive Summary: The economic and ecological benefits derived from wild and cultured oyster populations have been severely impacted by disease, thereby prompting selective breeding efforts for disease resistance. Gains in desired phenotype through selective breeding could be enhanced and accelerated by marker-assisted selection; however, the genetic mechanism(s) of disease resistance are largely unknown. Therefore, it is necessary to develop new genomic tools and resources that will advance the elucidation of the genetic basis of traits of commercial and ecological interest in oysters as well as facilitate an understanding of the mechanisms involved in adaptation to a changing environment. The purpose of this article is to announce an effort (funded through the USDA NIFA AFRI program) to sequence, assemble, and annotate the eastern oyster genome and invite participation from the expanded oyster research community.

Technical Abstract: The eastern or American cupped oyster, Crassostrea virginica, provides important ecological and economical services, making it the target of restoration projects and supporting a significant fishery/aquaculture industry with landings valued at more than $100 million in 2012 in the United States of America. Due to the severe impact of infectious diseases on wild, restored, and cultured populations, the eastern oyster has been the focus of studies on host-pathogen interactions and immunity, as well as the target of selective breeding efforts for disease resistant oyster lines. Despite these efforts, relatively little is known about the genetic basis of resistance to diseases or environmental stress, not only in eastern oyster, but also in other molluscan species of commercial interest worldwide. In order to develop tools and resources to assist in the elucidation of the genomic basis of traits of commercial, biological, and ecological interest in oysters, a team of genome and bioinformatics experts, in collaboration with the oyster research community, is sequencing, assembling, and annotating the first reference genome and transcriptome for the eastern oyster. The reference genome and transcriptomes for the eastern oyster, added to the already available genome and transcriptomes for the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and other bivalve species being sequenced, will be an essential resource for the discovery of candidate genes and markers associated with traits of commercial, biological, and ecologic importance in bivalve molluscs, including those related to host-pathogen interactions and immunity.