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Genomic selection for growth traits in Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas): Potential of low-density marker panels for breeding value prediction

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Original languageEnglish
Article number391
JournalFrontiers in genetics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2018


Pacific oysters are a key aquaculture species globally, and genetic improvement via selective breeding is a major target. Genomic selection has the potential to expedite genetic gain for key target traits of a breeding program, but has not yet been evaluated in oyster. The recent development of SNP arrays for Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) raises the opportunity to test genomic selection strategies for polygenic traits. In this study, a population of 820 oysters (comprising 23 full-sibling families) were genotyped using a medium density SNP array (23 K informative SNPs), and the genetic architecture of growth-related traits [shell height (SH), shell length (SL), and wet weight (WW)] was evaluated. Heritability was estimated to be moderate for the three traits (0.26 ± 0.06 for SH, 0.23 ± 0.06 for SL and 0.35 ± 0.05 for WW), and results of a GWAS indicated that the underlying genetic architecture was polygenic. Genomic prediction approaches were used to estimate breeding values for growth, and compared to pedigree based approaches. The accuracy of the genomic prediction models (GBLUP) outperformed the traditional pedigree approach (PBLUP) by ∼25% for SL and WW, and ∼30% for SH. Further, reduction in SNP marker density had little impact on prediction accuracy, even when density was reduced to a few hundred SNPs. These results suggest that the use of genomic selection in oyster breeding could offer benefits for the selection of breeding candidates to improve complex economic traits at relatively modest cost.

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