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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Improving Shellfish Survival Through Genetic Improvement in Disease Resistance

Location: National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center

Project Number: 1915-31000-003-08
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 30, 2011
End Date: Apr 30, 2016

Objective:
Identify and propagate families of commonly cultured eastern US oysters, Crassostrea virginica, that are resistant to key diseases. Families and lines of oysters will be deployed in areas with disease pressure and resistance and susceptibility to four major oyster diseases will be evaluated periodically along with growth parameters. The prevalence of these diseases, and relationship among disease resistance to multiple diseases and to growth will be examined in the families and lines deployed. This information will be used to selectively breed oysters for good industry performance.

Approach:
Families and lines of C. virginica oysters that have been developed at Rutgers University, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, and University of Maine, and their crosses will be deployed in regions where outbreaks are expected and predictable. Regular sampling will be conducted to define the disease resistant and disease susceptible phenotypes for two major oyster diseases, juvenile oyster disease (JOD) and an unknown multinucleated sphere haplosporidium (MSX). Further studies will be conducted in Damariscotta and Duxbury to evaluate families of oysters for disease resistance using the defined phenotypes and with regular enough sampling to determine levels of infection and cause of mortality. In addition to monitoring and evaluation for MSX, evaluation for JOD will also be conducted during the early rearing phases in the same populations. Tissue samples will also be collected in order to conduct genotyping and functional genomic assays on the animals with various growth resistance and susceptibility phenotypes.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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