Use of a microsatellite-based pedigree in estimation of heritabilities for economic traits in Australian blue mussel,Mytilus galloprovincialis

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This study aimed to estimate the heritabilities of three economically important traits (total weight, shell shape and meat yield) in Australian blue mussels. The estimates were derived using a pedigree reconstructed from a suite of both published and newly developed microsatellite markers. A total of 135 microsatellite loci were tested, of which 10 loci produced consistent PCR amplification and reliable results across all samples (74 full-sibling families including 74 pairs of parents and 2536 offspring). Lack of polymorphism at the non-repetitive region of the adhesive protein gene confirmed that the broodstock were derived from a single species. A total of 1538 progenies (62.5%) could be assigned to single parent pairs, and the remainder were assigned to two families or more, so were discarded from further analysis. Heritabilities for total weight, shell shape and meat yield were low (0.051 ± 0.027, 0.085 ± 0.038 and 0.049 ± 0.028, respectively) but reflected large environmental variation rather than limited genetic variation, suggesting a family-based breeding programme could improve these traits. The genetic correlation between weight and meat yield, expressed as percentage of total mussel which was not shell, was negative, while the genetic correlation between meat yield and shell shape was weakly positive.

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