Marine Biotechnology

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 421–429 | Cite as

Estimates of Heritability for Growth and Shell Color Traits and Their Genetic Correlations in the Black Shell Strain of Pacific Oyster Crassostrea gigas

  • Lan Xu
  • Qi LiEmail author
  • Hong Yu
  • Lingfeng Kong
Short Communication


The Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas has been introduced widely and massively and became an economically important aquaculture species on a global scale. We estimated heritabilities of growth and shell color traits and their genetic correlations in black shell strain of C. gigas. Analyses were performed on 22 full-sib families in a nested mating design including 410 individuals at harvest (24 months of age). The parentage assignment was inferred based on four panels of multiplex PCR markers including 10 microsatellite loci and 94.9% of the offspring were unambiguously assigned to single parent pairs. The Spearman correlation test (r = − 0.992, P < 0.001) demonstrated the high consistency of the shell pigmentation (SP) and L* and their same efficacy in shell color measurements. The narrow-sense heritability estimated under the animal model analysis was 0.18 ± 0.12 for shell height, 0.25 ± 0.16 for shell length, 0.10 ± 0.09 for shell width, 0.42 ± 0.20 for total weight, 0.32 ± 0.18 for shell weight, and 0.68 ± 0.16 for L*, 0.69 ± 0.16 for shell pigmentation, respectively. The considerable additive genetic variation in growth and shell color traits will make it feasible to produce genetic improvements for these traits in selective breeding program. High genetic and phenotypic correlations were found among growth traits and among shell color traits. To optimize a selection strategy for both fast growth and pure dark shell strain of C. gigas, it is proposed to take both total weight and black shell as joint objective traits in selective breeding program. Our study offers an important reference in the process of selective breeding in black shell color stain of C. gigas and will facilitate to develop favorable breeding strategies of genetic improvements for this economically important strain.


Crassostrea gigas Black shell strain Growth traits Shell color traits L*a*b* Genetic parameters 



This work was supported by the grants from Shandong Province (2016ZDJS06A06), Shandong Seed Project, and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (201762014).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mariculture, Ministry of EducationOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina

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