Aquaculture for the Pacific geoduck (Panopea generosa) is a small but expanding industry in Washington state, where geoducks are native and genetic interactions between wild and cultured geoducks are likely. To examine the potential genetic implications of geoduck aquaculture, genetic diversity, and effective number of breeders (Nb), five contiguous year-classes of cultured geoducks were compared with a wild population. The results from five microsatellite loci indicate the cultured year-classes exhibited reduced allelic richness and Nb as well as increased mean pairwise genetic relatedness. However, examination of relationships within year-classes using sibship assignment revealed that many parents contributed progeny to each year-class. The geoducks in each year-class were comprised of 9 to 25 full-sib groups as well as a large number of individuals unrelated to others at the full-sib level. No clear pattern emerged regarding changes in genetic diversity during the 5-y time span of this study. To decrease the genetic risk to wild geoducks, the results suggest that hatcheries should increase the genetic diversity of cultured geoducks by adopting a partial factorial mating scheme, or they should minimize gene flow from cultured to wild populations by culturing sterile triploid geoducks.
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Vol. 34 • No. 1