NInstitute of Oceanology,Chinese Academy of Sciences
Molecular basis of key economic traits and molecular design breeding in cultural molluscs


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1. Project Justification

  Molluscs are dominant species for mariculture in our country. Molluscan production in 2007 reached 10.67 million tons and accounted for 77% of the national total for mariculture production. Oysters and other bivalves constituted 95% of all marine molluscs produced by aquaculture. Molluscan aquaculture plays an important role in our nation’s coastal economy, and it has great potential for further development. But the lack of superior varieties has long been a bottleneck for the development of this industry. Building on the recent completed oyster whole genome sequence, this project initiates fundamental research on molecular bases of economically important traits and design breeding. It will further enhance our ability to produce new molluscan germplam in support efficient and sustainable development of the mariculture industry.

2Key Scientific Questions

1) Structure and characteristics of mollusscan genomes: Genome structure and functional genes; genome-wide SNP and polymorphism in function genes; genome sequence map and high–density genetic maps.

2) Molecular basis of key economical traits: gene/QTL fine-mapping of target traits; Key genes and functional mechanism for of important traits; gene expression and regulation network, association between genotype and phenotype.

3) Technical approaches to molecular design breeding: reaction of genes and regulation network to environment; G-P model and database for breeding traits; the combination of growth and resistance traits; simulation breeding platform and breeding test

3. Project Description:

1) Molluscan comparative genomics studies and SNP development: based on the draft sequence of the oyster genome, compare the structure of molluscan genomes, develop functional genes and SNPs, construct complete genome sequence map and high-density genetic maps.

2) Molecular basis of key economic traits: screen and test key genes for growth, development, resistance and pearl nacre formation, study their functional mechanisms and regulation network, map the genes/QTLs for target traits, and clarify the association between phenotype and genotype.

3) Technical approaches to molecular design breeding: analyze the reaction to environment of genes and regulation networks, construct G-P model and the database, develop techniques for combining growth and resistance traits, build a simulation breeding platform, and test and adjust simulation during actual breeding practice.

4. Project Objectives:

1) To learn about the genome structure of oysters and other molluscs, to obtain a large set of functional genes and SNPs, and to construct complete genome sequence map and high-density genetic maps.

2)To identify key genes for the important economic traits, to clarify their functional mechanism and the regulation network, to elucidate the relationship between the genotype and the phenotype.

3)To construct technical platform for the molecular design breeding of mollusscs, to achieve breakthroughs in some key technologies for the molecular design breeding, enabling molecular design breeding.

4) To publish 200 SCI papers including 10 with IP > 5.0, 1-2 papers in top journals, to apply for at least 40 national or international patents.

5. Sub-projects

1) Comparison of molluscan genomes and mining of functional genes

2) Large scale SNP development for molluscs and the construction of high-density genetic maps

3) Key genes for molluscan growth and development and their regulation networks.

4) Key molluscan genes for disease/stress resistance and their regulation networks.

5) Key molluscan genes for pearl nacre formation and their regulation networks.

6) Studies on key techniques for molecular design breeding of mollusscs.


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