Genetic diversity in the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) from Massachusetts using the RAPD technique

Beth M. Hirschfeld, Arun K. Dhar, Karl Rask, Acacia Alcivar-Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique was used to examine the genetic variability in eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) from four wild-naturalized stocks (Wellfleet, Wareham River, East Wareham/Onset and Barnstable Harbor) and one cultured stock (Cotuit) in Massachusetts. Initially. 20 oligonucleotide primers (Kits A, B, C, G, M, and Z; Operon Technologies Inc., Alameda, California) were screened and 10 were selected to amplify DNA from 79 samples representing these five sites. A total of 90 DNA bands ranging in size from 205 to 1,400 base pairs (bp) were scored. The highest level of polymorphisms were detected in samples from Barnstable Harbor (74%) followed by Wellfleet (71%), Wareham River (70%), East Wareham/Onset (62%), and Cotuit (54%). There were significant differences in polymorphisms between three wild-naturalized (Barnstable Harbor, Wellfleet, and Wareham River) and cultured samples. East Wareham/Onset samples did not show significant differences with the cultured population. Potential site-specific RAPD markers were identified with primers OPA10, OPA17, OPC10, OPG06, and OPM18. The frequency of these site-specific RAPD markers varied among the sample collection sites. In addition, four unique alleles (OPA17-900 and 875 bp; OPC10-450 bp, and OPG06-270 bp) were identified in samples from Barnstable Harbor, Wareham River, and East Wareham/Onset. Our data provide baseline information on the genetic variation in cultured and wild oyster stocks in Massachusetts and may be useful for future management of the resource.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-125
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Shellfish Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1999


  • Crassostrea virginica
  • Eastern oyster
  • Genetic diversity
  • RAPD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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