The Molluscan Broodstock Program (MBP) has been producing and selecting Pacific oysters since 1996. The broodstock population is based on six founder cohorts of 50 families each, produced from 600 "wild" oysters collected from different areas on the West coast. This broad founder population, together with implementation of appropriate breeding schemes, has helped reduce the negative effects of inbreeding on family yields.
Cohorts of Pacific oyster families are produced in a pilot-scale hatchery located at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State University. Pedigreed broodstock are spawned and eggs are fertilized with sperm from the appropriate male. Larvae and juvenile oysters (spat) are reared on algal diets in the MBP nursery. Spat from each family have been planted at commercial grow-out sites in California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Families with the highest survival and yields (meat weights) are identified and crossed to produce subsequent generations for selection. Selected broodstock are provided to industry to enhance commercial production. A repository preserves valuable genetic material for future applications.
MBP has achieved an average increase in yield of 35% (whole live weight) compared with yields of families from unselected broodstock. The West coast oyster industry has made extensive use of MBP broodstock. Future characteristics to be selected include resistance to the highly pathogenic micro-var strains of the oyster herpes virus (OsHv-1 µvar).
MBP is currently funded through a Federal grant through the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.
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