Molluscan reproduction has been a target of biological research because of the various reproductive strategies that have evolved in this phylum. It has also been studied for the development of fisheries technologies, particularly aquaculture. Although fundamental processes of reproduction in other phyla, such as vertebrates and arthropods, have been well studied, information on the molecular mechanisms of molluscan reproduction remains limited. The recently released draft genome of the pearl oyster Pinctada fucata provides a novel and powerful platform for obtaining structural information on the genes and proteins involved in bivalve reproduction. In the present study, we analyzed the pearl oyster draft genome to screen reproduction-related genes. Analysis was mainly conducted for genes reported from other molluscs for encoding orthologs of reproduction-related proteins in other phyla. The gene search in the P. fucata gene models (version 1.1) and genome assembly (version 1.0) were performed using Genome Browser and BLAST software. The obtained gene models were then BLASTP searched against a public database to confirm the best-hit sequences. As a result, more than 40 gene models were identified with high accuracy to encode reproduction-related genes reported for P. fucata and other molluscs. These include vasa, nanos, doublesex- and mab-3-related transcription factor, 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptors, vitellogenin, estrogen receptor, and others. The set of reproduction-related genes of P. fucata identified in the present study constitute a new tool for research on bivalve reproduction at the molecular level.
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Vol. 30 • No. 10