Marine Biotechnology

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 594–602 | Cite as

Comparison of Two Pearl Sacs Formed in the Same Recipient Oyster with Different Genetic Background Involved in Yellow Pigmentation in Pinctada fucata

  • Mikihiro Shinohara
  • Shigeharu Kinoshita
  • Enkong Tang
  • Daisuke Funabara
  • Makoto Kakinuma
  • Kaoru Maeyama
  • Kiyohito Nagai
  • Masahiko Awaji
  • Shugo Watabe
  • Shuichi Asakawa
Original Article


Color is one of the most important factors determining the commercial value of pearls. Pinctada fucata is a well-known pearl oyster producing high-quality Akoya pearls. Phenotypic variation in amount of yellow pigmentation produces white and yellowish pearls. It has been reported that polymorphism of yellow pigmentation of Akoya pearls is genetically regulated, but the responsible gene(s) has remained unknown. Here, we prepared pearl sac pairs formed in the same recipient oyster but coming from donor oysters that differ in their color. These two pearl sacs produced pearls with different yellowness even in the same recipient oyster. Yellow tone of produced pearls was consistent with shell nacre color of donor oysters from which mantle grafts were prepared, indicating that donor oysters strongly contribute to the yellow coloration of Akoya pearls. We also conducted comparative RNA-seq analysis and retrieved several candidate genes involved in the pearl coloration. Whole gene expression patterns of pair sacs were not grouped by pearl color they produced, but grouped by recipient oysters in which they were grown, suggesting that the number of genes involved in the yellow coloration is quite small, and that recipient oyster affects gene expression of the majority of genes in the pearl sac.


Pearl oyster Pinctada fucata Pearl color Yellow pigment RNA-seq 


Funding Information

This study was partially supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grand numbers JP26292108 and JP17K19282.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

10126_2018_9830_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (233 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 232 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikihiro Shinohara
    • 1
  • Shigeharu Kinoshita
    • 1
  • Enkong Tang
    • 1
  • Daisuke Funabara
    • 2
  • Makoto Kakinuma
    • 2
  • Kaoru Maeyama
    • 3
  • Kiyohito Nagai
    • 4
  • Masahiko Awaji
    • 5
  • Shugo Watabe
    • 6
  • Shuichi Asakawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of BioresourcesMie UniversityTsuJapan
  3. 3.Mikimoto Pharmaceutical CO., LTD.IseJapan
  4. 4.Pearl Research Laboratory, K. MIKIMOTO & CO., LTD.ShimaJapan
  5. 5.Japan Fisheries Research and Education AgencyNational Research Institute of AquacultureWataraiJapan
  6. 6.School of Marine BiosciencesKitasato UniversitySagamiharaJapan

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