Development and Evaluation of High-Density SNP Arrays for the Eastern Oyster Crassostrea virginica

Document Type


Date of Original Version



The eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica is a major aquaculture species for the USA. The sustainable development of eastern oyster aquaculture depends upon the continued improvement of cultured stocks through advanced breeding technologies. The Eastern Oyster Breeding Consortium (EOBC) was formed to advance the genetics and breeding of the eastern oyster. To facilitate efficient genotyping needed for genomic studies and selection, the consortium developed two single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays for the eastern oyster: one screening array with 566K SNPs and one breeders’ array with 66K SNPs. The 566K screening array was developed based on whole-genome resequencing data from 292 oysters from Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico populations; it contains 566,262 SNPs including 47K from protein-coding genes with a marker conversion rate of 48.34%. The 66K array was developed using best-performing SNPs from the screening array, which contained 65,893 oyster SNPs including 22,984 genic markers with a calling rate of 99.34%, a concordance rate of 99.81%, and a much-improved marker conversion rate of 92.04%. Null alleles attributable to large indels were found in 13.1% of the SNPs, suggesting that copy number variation is pervasive. Both arrays provided easy identification and separation of selected stocks from wild progenitor populations. The arrays contain 31 mitochondrial SNPs that allowed unambiguous identification of Gulf mitochondrial genotypes in some Atlantic populations. The arrays also contain 756 probes from 13 oyster and human pathogens for possible detection. Our results show that marker conversion rate is low in high polymorphism species and that the two-step process of array development can greatly improve array performance. The two arrays will advance genomic research and accelerate genetic improvement of the eastern oyster by delineating genetic architecture of production traits and enabling genomic selection. The arrays also may be used to monitor pedigree and inbreeding, identify selected stocks and their introgression into wild populations, and assess the success of oyster restoration.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Marine Biotechnology