Bonamia-free oysters: genetic markers

To strengthen the natural biodiversity of the North Sea, several pilot projects to restore flat oyster beds (Ostrea edulis) are being carried out in the Netherlands. In this project, the cultivation of disease-free oysters is used for oyster restoration projects.

For future large-scale restoration of oyster beds, there is currently a shortage of source material (flat oysters). Such oysters can be taken from the wild or bred, but are only suitable for restoration projects if they are disease-free: without Bonamia, a disease that kills flat oysters.

Genetic markers

Today, genetic markers can be used to determine whether flat oysters are tolerant to Bonamia disease. Both parents and larvae can be infected with Bonamia, with infected mother oysters producing uninfected larvae and uninfected mother oysters producing infected larvae. This presents an opportunity: by working with parent animals from infected areas, there is the possibility of breeding Bonamia-free animals that are tolerant to the disease.