Determination of gender in the pearl oyster pinctada margaritifera

Type Article
Date 2011-08
Language English
Author(s) Chavez-Villalba Jorge1, Soyez Claude1, Huvet ArnaudORCID2, Gueguen YannickORCID1, Lo Cedrik3, Le Moullac GillesORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, Lab Ecosyst Perlicole, Taravao 98719, Tahiti, Fr Polynesia
2 : IFREMER, Ctr Brest, UMR Physiol & Ecophysiol Mollusques Marins 100, F-29280 Plouzane, France
3 : Serv Perliculture, Motu Uta, Tahiti, Fr Polynesia
Source Journal Of Shellfish Research (0730-8000) (Natl Shellfisheries Assoc), 2011-08 , Vol. 30 , N. 2 , P. 231-240
DOI 10.2983/035.030.0206
WOS© Times Cited 42
Keyword(s) pearl oyster, Pinctada, hermaphrodite, temperature, food, stress, sex genes, sex steroids
Abstract The pearl industry in French Polynesia is based on exploitation of natural stocks of the black-lip pearl oyster (Pinctada margaritifera); it generates an annual turnover of 90 million euros. Improvements in pearl quality need genetic studies to improve the populations. This pearl oyster is a protandric species, where the sex-ratio normally is biased towards males. There is an increasing interest in gender control to find the mechanisms to augment female proportions for management purposes. This review summarizes information on exogenous and endogenous factors regulating gender in this and other bivalves and concludes that P. margaritifera is a protandric hermaphrodite, developing as a male during the first two years and without evidence of an effect from abiotic and biotic factors on gender during this phase. Later, pearl oysters progressively change to females, reaching a sex ratio close to 1:1 in specimens >8 years; at this stage, gender is apparently influenced by environmental parameters, but particularly by stress. Future research should seek to accurately determine the effect of temperature and food on sex ratios. Studies should be performed to characterize genes responsible for expression of gender. The use of hormones is a path that might be explored to influence the gender of pearl oysters.
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