G3 (Bethesda, Md.) 2018 02 22() pii 10.1534/g3.118.200113
Ostreid herpesvirus (OsHV) can cause mass mortality events in Pacific oyster aquaculture. While various factors impact on the severity of outbreaks, it is clear that genetic resistance of the host is an important determinant of mortality levels. This raises the possibility of selective breeding strategies to improve the genetic resistance of farmed oyster stocks, thereby contributing to disease control. Traditional selective breeding can be augmented by use of genetic markers, either via marker-assisted or genomic selection. The aim of the current study was to investigate the genetic architecture of resistance to OsHV in Pacific oyster, to identify genomic regions containing putative resistance genes, and to inform the use of genomics to enhance efforts to breed for resistance. To achieve this, a population of ~1,000 juvenile oysters were experimentally challenged with a virulent form of OsHV, with samples taken from mortalities and survivors for genotyping and qPCR measurement of viral load. The samples were genotyped using a recently-developed SNP array, and the genotype data were used to reconstruct the pedigree. Using these pedigree and genotype data, the first high density linkage map was constructed for Pacific oyster, containing 20,353 SNPs mapped to the ten pairs of chromosomes. Genetic parameters for resistance to OsHV were estimated, indicating a significant but low heritability for the binary trait of survival and also for viral load measures (h2 0.12 – 0.25). A genome-wide association study highlighted a region of linkage group 6 containing a significant QTL affecting host resistance. These results are an important step towards identification of genes underlying resistance to OsHV in oyster, and a step towards applying genomic data to enhance selective breeding for disease resistance in oyster aquaculture.