• Nazaré, Portugal, July 24, 2020. A team led by researchers from the aquaculture company Oceano Fresco SA has just published a scientific article in the Peer Journal that points out new paths for the development of clam breeding programs, in particular the so-called "grooved carpet shell" (Ruditapes decussatus). With the collaboration of scientists from the University of A Coruña (Spain) and CIIMAR, the article entitled 'Genetic variability in Ruditapes decussatus clam combined with Perkinsus infection level to support the selection of the founding population for an breeding program' analyzes the variability genetics of different groups of species, integrating the level of infection by the infectious agent Perkinsus olseni, the main parasite of clams and a major obstacle to greater economic exploitation of this bivalve.

    Although the cultivation of clams is an important economic activity generating more than 7 billion euros a year, there are relatively few places dedicated to its industrial production in Europe. In addition, most producers today concentrate on an invasive Asian species, while the native variety Ruditapes decussatus has been progressively neglected in recent decades, despite its much higher economic and nutritional value. This is due to the fact that the cultivation of this species is more difficult and unpredictable due to factors such as Perkinsus. The development of a breeding program that allows for constant production and with important rates, becomes crucial for a replacement and growth of the species as a food product.

    According to Oceano Fresco, the conclusions of the article 'will allow the selection of populations with the most appropriate characteristics that will serve as a basis for the founding population of the selective breeding program to be implemented’.

    The article was published within the scope of the I&DT SEMEAR Project nº 22390 (CENTRO-02-0651-FEDER-011546), co-financed by the Operational Program of the Centro Region (Portugal) - a system of incentive to business innovation of the Portuguese Government and the European Union. The underlying research was also supported by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, under concession contract No. 739773 and by the Fundo Azul project FA_01_2017_007 co-financed by the Portuguese Government Ministry of the Sea.

    DOI access to the article: 10.7717/peerj.9728

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