Improved Eastern Oysters

Triploid oysters (right, 3N) produced from improved tetraploids vs. normal diploid controls (left, 2N).


Invention Summary:

Rutgers University has been breeding eastern oysters since 1960. Rutgers oyster strains such as HASKIN NEHTM have shown strong to moderate resistance to two diseases (MSX and Dermo). Rutgers also developed tetraploid oysters (with four sets of chromosomes) for the production of triploid oysters (with three sets of chromosomes) that are used for aquaculture. Because of their sterility, superior growth, and improved summer meat quality, triploid oysters, which are produced by crossing diploids and tetraploids, have become an important part of oyster aquaculture, accounting for 30-50% of productions in the US and France.

New research at Rutgers has produced new and improved eastern oyster varieties that are ready for release as diploid and tetraploid broodstock. For diploids, the growth and health of HASKIN NEH, which is derived from Northeastern populations, has been improved through the addition and infusion of new sublines, NEF and NEG. New genetic strains (DBXs) have been developed from and for the Delaware Bay. While triploids are sterile and cannot be directly improved, tetraploid oysters have been selectively bred and genetically improved for the production of improved triploids. Triploids produced from the new and improved tetraploids are healthier and grow significantly faster than normal diploid controls.

Market Applications:

Eastern oyster production in the northeastern US waters from New Jersey to Maine.