Developing new oyster sterilization technology to avoid triploid summer mortality

Principal Investigator:

Ten-Tsao Wong

Start/End Year:

2019 - 2021


University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Co-Principal Investigator:

Yonathan Zohar, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Louis Plough, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; Donald Webster, Wye Research & Education Center, Maryland Sea Grant


Strategic focus area:

Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture


Rationale: To meet the increasing demands of the world’s growing population under sustainability constrains, optimization of aquaculture methods will be necessary to maximize cost-effective production and minimize ecological impact. One of the supreme strategies for large-scale commercial aquaculture operations is the use of infertile/sterile populations of farmed animals. Sterility carries environmental significance, as the infertile animals are not able to propagate and/or interbreed with wild stocks. In addition, sexual maturation is associated with a substantial decrease in somatic growth due to the diversion of energy into the development of the gonads. The period of intensive gonadal growth during sexual maturation also results in deterioration of meat quality and an increase in susceptibility to stress and disease. Sterilization minimizes energy input toward gonadal growth while enhancing muscle development and promoting the health of farmed animals (1-4). Furthermore, sterility is a means for producers to protect their valuable, genetically selected strains from unauthorized propagation.


  1. Identify and select one of the candidate genes and their suitable MO-Vivos for use in developing eastern oyster sterilization technology;
  2. Optimize MO-Vivo bath-immersion protocol to determine the most economical condition achieving 100% sterility induction, and;
  3. Produce a larger scale of reproductively sterile eastern oysters for growth performance and mortality field studies compared with non-sterile diploid and triploid oysters;
  4. Coordinate with Sea Grant outreach and education programs to disseminate and discuss the results with industry and other research scientists locally via a regional meeting in Maryland, and nationally through the Aquaculture  conference.

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