How to Breed a Better Oyster

Humans have been selectively breeding animals for thousands of years: cows that produce more milk, pigs that grow to larger sizes, sheep that have thicker wool. Genetic testing, which has become faster and more accessible, has made this process even easier.

So why not do the same with oysters?

Oyster hatcheries already try to breed animals with characteristics that make them more marketable, like meatier bodies or specific shell shapes. But the briney bivalves currently face threats from warming oceans and several parasitic diseases. The traits that could help them survive are harder to spot. 

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