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International Journal of Genomics
Volume 2016, Article ID 6720947, 10 pages
Research Article

Analysis of Gene Expression in an Inbred Line of Soft-Shell Clams (Mya arenaria) Displaying Growth Heterosis: Regulation of Structural Genes and the NOD2 Pathway

1Division of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Maine at Machias, Machias, ME 04654, USA
2The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA
3Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Salisbury Cove, ME 04672, USA

Received 21 April 2016; Revised 11 August 2016; Accepted 25 August 2016

Academic Editor: Shen Liang Chen

Copyright © 2016 John J. Wilson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mya arenaria is a bivalve mollusk of commercial and economic importance, currently impacted by ocean warming, acidification, and invasive species. In order to inform studies on the growth of M. arenaria, we selected and inbred a population of soft-shell clams for a fast-growth phenotype. This population displayed significantly faster growth (), as measured by 35.4% greater shell size. To assess the biological basis of this growth heterosis, we characterized the complete transcriptomes of six individuals and identified differentially expressed genes by RNAseq. Pathways differentially expressed included structural gene pathways. Also differentially expressed was the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain 2 (NOD2) receptor pathway that contributes to determination of growth, immunity, apoptosis, and proliferation. NOD2 pathway members that were upregulated included a subset of isoforms of RIPK2 (mean 3.3-fold increase in expression), ERK/MAPK14 (3.8-fold), JNK/MAPK8 (4.1-fold), and NFκB (4.08-fold). These transcriptomes will be useful resources for both the aquaculture community and researchers with an interest in mollusks and growth heterosis.