Color is one of the most important factors determining the commercial value of pearls. Pinctada fucata is a well-known pearl oyster producing high-quality Akoya pearls. Phenotypic variation in amount of yellow pigmentation produces white and yellowish pearls. It has been reported that polymorphism of yellow pigmentation of Akoya pearls is genetically regulated, but the responsible gene(s) has remained unknown. Here, we prepared pearl sac pairs formed in the same recipient oyster but coming from donor oysters that differ in their color. These two pearl sacs produced pearls with different yellowness even in the same recipient oyster. Yellow tone of produced pearls was consistent with shell nacre color of donor oysters from which mantle grafts were prepared, indicating that donor oysters strongly contribute to the yellow coloration of Akoya pearls. We also conducted comparative RNA-seq analysis and retrieved several candidate genes involved in the pearl coloration. Whole gene expression patterns of pair sacs were not grouped by pearl color they produced, but grouped by recipient oysters in which they were grown, suggesting that the number of genes involved in the yellow coloration is quite small, and that recipient oyster affects gene expression of the majority of genes in the pearl sac.
Marine Biotechnology – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2018