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Genetics. 1998 Apr;148(4):1893-906.

Early effect of inbreeding as revealed by microsatellite analyses on Ostrea edulis larvae.

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  • 1Laboratoire GĂ©nome et Populations, Centre National de la Recerche Scientifique UPR 9060, UniversitĂ© Montpellier II, France.

Erratum in

  • Genetics 1998 Nov;150(3):1331.


This paper reports new experimental evidence on the effect of inbreeding on growth and survival in the early developmental phase of a marine bivalve, the flat oyster Ostrea edulis. Two crosses between full sibs were analyzed using four microsatellite markers. Samples of 96 individuals were taken just after spawning (day 1), at the end of the larval stage before metamorphosis (day 10) and at the postlarval stage (day 70). Significant departure from Mendelian expectation was observed at two loci in the first cross and two loci in the second. Departure from 1:1 segregation occurred in one parent of the first cross at three loci and genotypic selection, which resulted in highly significant heterozygote excesses, was recorded at three out of four loci in cross C1 and at two out of three loci in cross C2. Across the four markers, there were similar significant excesses of multilocus heterozygosity, and significant multilocus heterozygosity-growth correlations were recorded for both crosses at all stages. These results suggest that microsatellite markers, often assumed to be neutral, cosegregated with fitness-associated genes, the number of which is estimated to be between 15 and 38 in the whole genome, and that there is a potentially high genetic load in Ostrea edulis genome. This load provides a genetic basis for heterosis in marine bivalves.

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