Project number: 2016-802
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $504,661.52
Principal Investigator: Michael Dove
Organisation: NSW Department Of Primary Industries
Project start/end date: 30 Aug 2016 - 30 Aug 2019


Progress in the Sydney rock oyster breeding program is constrained by a number of factors, in particular the number of families that are produced and how they are selected and tested. This program will accelerate SRO breeding progress in three key areas; by producing more families, earlier in each production year and using new methods for family selection.


1. By 2019 to have doubled the number of family lines currently planned for the SOCo breeding program
2. To reduce the generation time for QX resistance TO 1 year and to reduce the generation time for winter mortality resistance BY 1 year
3. To have confirmed the value of "stress markers" in selective breeding of Sydney rock oysters

Final report

ISBN: 978-1-76058-356-9
Authors: Michael Dove (NSW DPI) Peter Kube (CSIRO) Curtis Lind (CSIRO) Vivian Cumbo (Macquarie University) David Raftos (Macquarie University) Wayne O’Connor (NSW DPI)
Final Report • 2020-01-01 • 1.30 MB


This project focussed on increasing genetic resistance of Select Oyster Company (SOCo) breeding program Sydney rock oyster (Saccostrea glomerata, SRO) families to QX disease and winter mortality (WM) disease. NSW DPI has worked collaboratively with SOCo to develop a SRO family-based breeding program (BP) to replace the mass selection program used to develop fast growth and disease resistance since 1991. Family-based breeding has a number of distinct advantages over mass selection including; increased genetic gains, ability to select for disease resistance under biosecure conditions, improved selection methods for multiple traits, better estimates of genetic gains and trends as well as control over inbreeding. Annual family breeding runs commenced in 2014 to establish the SOCo breeding program. An FRDC project (2015-230) provided genetic expertise to establish and refine breeding methodology for a family-based breeding program.
The next step was greater understanding of the genetic parameters for QX and WM disease and how these related to other traits under selection, growth and meat condition. Genetic progress could be achieved by increasing the numbers of families available for selection, improved understanding of the genetic architecture of traits and reducing the length of breeding cycles for disease resistance. NSW DPI, SOCo, genetic specialists at CSIRO and oyster researchers at Macquarie University developed a multidisciplinary research program to deliver genetic progress for the SOCo breeding program.

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