MBP has been producing and selecting Pacific oyster families since 1996.
The broodstock population is based on six founder cohorts of 50 families each,
from 600 "wild" oysters collected from different areas on the West coast.
This broad founder population, together with implementation of appropriate breeding schemes,
has helped reduce the negative effects of inbreeding on family yields.
Cohorts of Pacific oyster families are produced in a pilot-scale hatchery located at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State University. Selected broodstock are pedigreed using modern genetic "fingerprinting" techniques. Pedigreed broodstock are spawned and eggs are fertilized with sperm from the appropriate male. Larvae and juvenile oysters (spat) are reared on algal diets under conditions that exclude potenial infections from harmful microorganisms and parasites. Spat from each family are planted at West Coast commercial grow-out sites. Families with the highest survival and yields (meat weights) are identified and crossed to produce subsequent generations for selection. Selected broodstock, together with advice on broodstock management, are provided to industry to enhance commercial production. A repository preserves valuable genetic material for future applications.
After two generations of selection, MBP has achieved an average increase in yield per generation of 26% (whole live weight) compared with yields of families from unselected broodstock. The West coast oyster industry has made extensive use of MBP broodstock and plans to continue this in the future. MBP presently focuses on selecting for yield - the sum effect of both survival and growth. Future characteristics to be selected include larval survival, shell, mantle color and shell shape.
MBP is funded as a Special Project through the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES).