The genome of the oyster Saccostrea offers insight into the environmental resilience of bivalves

Daniel Powell, Sankar Subramanian, Saowaros Suwansa-Ard, Min Zhao, Wayne O'Connor, David Raftos, Abigail Elizur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Oysters are keystone species in estuarine ecosystems and are of substantial economic value to fisheries and aquaculture worldwide. Contending with disease and environmental stress are considerable challenges to oyster culture. Here we report a draft genome of the Sydney Rock Oyster, Saccostrea glomerata, an iconic and commercially important species of edible oyster in Australia known for its enhanced resilience to harsh environmental conditions. This is the second reference genome to be reported from the family Ostreidae enabling a genus-level study of lophotrochozoan genome evolution. Our analysis of the 784-megabase S. glomerata genome shows extensive expansions of gene families associated with immunological non-self-recognition. Transcriptomic analysis revealed highly tissue-specific patterns of expression among these genes, suggesting a complex assortment of immune receptors provide this oyster with a unique capacity to recognize invading microbes. Several gene families involved in stress response are notably expanded in Saccostrea compared with other oysters, and likely key to this species' adaptations for improved survival higher in the intertidal zone. The Sydney Rock Oyster genome provides a valuable resource for future research in molluscan biology, evolution and environmental resilience. Its close relatedness to Crassostrea will further comparative studies, advancing the means for improved oyster agriculture and conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-665
Number of pages11
JournalDNA research : an international journal for rapid publication of reports on genes and genomes
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • oyster
  • genome
  • bivalve adaptation
  • gene family evolution
  • resilience

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