Enhancing the pearl: understanding the molecular genetics of pearl lustre, colour and size (2006–2009)
Australia produces some of the most valuable pearls in the world. However recently the world has been flooded with high quality mass-produced freshwater pearls. This has begun to eat into our prestigious South Sea Pearl market and now presents Australian pearlers with a challenge to maintain market identity. We propose to respond this challenge by improving the quality and consistency of the cultured South Sea Pearl through gaining a detailed understanding of how the oyster genetically controls pearl biofabrication - focusing on pearl colour, size and lustre. This information will identify pearl oysters that are a source of high-quality donor mantle tissue and that can be used in selective breeding programs.