Aquaculture

A high-quality genome assembly for Pacific oyster to enable genetics and genomics research

Dr Carolina Peñaloza recounts her work advancing a publicly accessible genome assembly.

14/6/2021 

A new paper describing a chromosome-level reference genome for the Pacific oyster, led by the Roslin Institute, has been published in the journal GigaScience. Dr Carolina Peñaloza, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working in Professor Ross Houston’s research group, wrote this article based on more than two years of work, in collaboration with several Roslin colleagues and the team of Dr Ximing Guo at Rutgers University in the United States. Carolina and her colleagues created and annotated this new assembly for the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), including aligning the assembly with a high-density genetic linkage map.

Carolina’s extensive experience with bivalve shellfish genomics, gained during her PhD, was essential and the group managed to overcome some of the inherent challenges of high levels of heterozygosity to achieve the high-quality assembly. This genomic resource represents a significant improvement over the previous version of the C.gigas reference genome and will help advance our understanding of fundamental biological and evolutionary questions as well as boost important aquaculture production traits in this species via genomics-enabled breeding. For example, we are using the assembly to improve the mapping resolution of previously identified QTL affecting host resistance to Oyster Herpes Virus (OsHV).

“High-quality genome assemblies are the basis of high-resolution genomic and transcriptomic studies. Hence, our genome assembly provides to the community the opportunity to explore the evolution and functional complexities of Pacific oyster at a higher level of analyses,” Carolina says.

The article’s valuable findings will support genetic and genomic research in Pacific oyster. The Aquaculture Team at Roslin are proud to have helped put forth this article, and we celebrate Carolina’s achievement with much enthusiasm.

You can access the GigaScience article through this external link.

You can read more from Carolina via her page in the People section.