Assessment of genetic diversity and population structure in cultured Australian Pacific oysters

J W Kijas, A P Gutierrez, R D Houston, S McWilliam, T P Bean, K Soyano, J E Symonds, N King, C Lind, P Kube

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The recent development of Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) SNP genotyping arrays has allowed detailed characterisation of genetic diversity and population structure within and between oyster populations. It also raises the potential of harnessing genomic selection for genetic improvement in oyster breeding programmes. The aim of this study was to characterise a breeding population of Australian oysters through genotyping and analysis of 18 027 SNPs, followed by comparison with genotypes of oyster sampled from Europe and Asia. This revealed that the Australian populations had similar population diversity (HE ) to oysters from New Zealand, the British Isles, France and Japan. Population divergence was assessed using PCA of genetic distance and revealed that Australian oysters were distinct from all other populations tested. Australian Pacific oysters originate from planned introductions sourced from three Japanese populations. Approximately 95% of these introductions were from geographically, and potentially genetically, distinct populations from the Nagasaki oysters assessed in this study. Finally, in preparation for the application of genomic selection in oyster breeding programmes, the strength of LD was evaluated and subsets of loci were tested for their ability to accurately infer relationships. Weak LD was observed on average; however, SNP subsets were shown to accurately reconstitute a genomic relationship matrix constructed using all loci. This suggests that low-density SNP panels may have utility in the Australian population tested, and the findings represent an important first step towards the design and implementation of genomic approaches for applied breeding in Pacific oysters.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnimal Genetics
Early online date13 Sep 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Sep 2019


  • Pacific oyster
  • SNP
  • Genetic diversity


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