Biotech Updates

Decoded Oyster DNA Opens Up New Breeding Opportunities

August 31, 2022

Two separate studies by scientists led by the Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain found new information about the oyster's genome that can help improve its selective breeding approaches. The results can potentially help achieve food security and sustainability of the oyster industry.

Scientists from the Roslin Institute in collaboration with the Sorbonne University in France came up with two high-quality reference genomes that provided details down to the chromosome level of the European flat oyster that can be used by other scientists to conduct research on the conservation, restoration, and aquaculture of the species. They were able to identify two areas of the oyster genome significantly associated with faster growth that, when utilized, has the potential to genetically improve the shellfish's growth.

The second study by the University of Santiago de Compostela with the help of Roslin Institute aimed to compare the genome of oysters not previously exposed to Bonamia ostreae, a deadly parasite. These oysters have not had long-term effects from the parasite and were ideal to use when identifying variations in the oyster DNA region associated with resilience against the parasite, which they later found. This area can be further investigated and used for research to improve the oyster's tolerance to the parasite.

Results of both studies are important in improving oyster breeding programs to enhance desired traits and help expand the oyster industry in Scotland.

Learn more from the Roslin Institute's news release.

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