Selective breeding of edible bivalves and its implication of global climate change

Bivalve molluscs are very nutritious and are an important source of human animal protein. To date, bivalve farming has contributed to about 15% of the mean per capita animal protein intake of approximate 1.5 billion people around the world. Unfortunately, the effects of climate change, mainly global warming and ocean acidification, have had many deleterious effects on bivalve aquaculture, not only leading to mass mortalities of bivalves in farms and hatcheries, but also causing collapse of natural bivalve populations. In response to the recurrent mass mortalities of farmed bivalves, many selective breeding programmes have been launched with the breeding goal of reducing mortality rate caused by disease outbreaks and changing ocean conditions. This article reviews the progress and potential of selective breeding of edible bivalves in the context of global climate change. It is clear from the literature that in terms of environmental sensitivity, and disease resistance and tolerance, selective breeding has great potential for improving the robustness of edible bivalves with significant heritability and genetic gain. Because the robustness of edible bivalves to climate change is a complex trait affected by multiple genes, the application of modern genomic tools in selective breeding is expected to dramatically enhance the accuracy and efficacy of genetic improvements and produce bivalve strains that are robust to climate change. The information in this article is very useful for guidance on adaptation strategies for climate‐smart bivalve aquaculture solutions to be implemented in bivalve hatcheries and farms.

Tan K., Zhang H. & Zheng H., in press. Selective breeding of edible bivalves and its implication of global climate change. Reviews in Aquaculture. Article (subscription required).

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