Location: Forage Seed and Cereal Research
2010 Annual Report
Sub-objective 1.A. Estimate the additive genetic, non-additive genetic, and environmental covariance matrices for larval, nursery, and field performance in currently available germplasm of the Pacific oyster using a multi-year animal model approach.
Sub-objective 1.B. Use the estimates obtained in Sub-objective 1.A. to design an efficient genetic improvement strategy for Pacific oysters.
Objective 2: Evaluate and optimize mixed-family breeding strategies for Pacific oysters.
Sub-objective 2.A. Determine at which stage larval progeny derived from controlled crosses of Pacific oysters can be mixed in equal proportions and not have those proportions drastically skewed at the field plant-out stage.
Sub-objective 2.B. Compare the results and costs of mixed family selection protocols to current procedures in which families are reared separately from spawn to harvest.
Objective 3: Identify genetic markers for economically important traits in Pacific oysters to enable marker-assisted selection.
Sub-objective 3.A. Examine the relationship between among-family variance in the expression levels of previously identified candidate genes and family-specific growth and survival in the field.
Sub-objective 3.B. Use standard QTL mapping approaches and quantitative assays of the levels of expression of candidate genes to identify regions of the Pacific oyster genome that control the transcription of the most promising candidate genes from Objective 3.A.
A new collaboration with the Molluscan Broodstock Program was established to test and evaluate second-generation families of Kumamoto oysters from the Ariake Sea to replace and/or revitalize existing contaminated and inbred Kumamoto germplasm used by industry.
As part of a coordinated effort to address catastrophic mortality in commercial oyster hatcheries, we established collaborations with ecologists and oceanographers to identify the causal factors so that we can re-create them under controlled conditions. Also, a new collaborative research effort was established with the Molluscan Broodstock Program (MBP) to study the genetic basis of larval and post-larval production traits to allow design of a more effective selective breeding strategy incorporating larval survival.
A new collaboration was established with colleagues at the University of Rhode Island to develop molecular tools to identify and characterize genes that impact complex traits of economic importance in Eastern oysters. The project uses deep DNA sequencing to identify a large number of genetic markers for gene discovery and mapping. This research will be used to develop high-throughput genotyping methods in Eastern oysters.
Laboratory stress challenge experiments were completed to enable the genotyping of samples from a large quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping experiment to identify genes that control the expression levels of genes associated with stress tolerance in Pacific oysters.