ASK about the species and sequencing.
CHAT in a 30 minute text chat with the species champion.
VOTE for a species to be sequenced for the first time ever!
Lived > 570 million years ago (last common ancestor to all bilaterian animals)
I should be sequenced because...: European flat oysters are an important farmed shellfish, that help provide health benefits to humans.
I belong to the bivalve group of shellfishes, which also contains mussels, clams and scallops. As a mollusc, I am also quite closely related to the squid and octopus, though that might not seem so obvious! We bivalves have been around for more than 500 million years and are represented by >10,000 unique species.
Bivalves like me are very important as food species and play key roles in supporting marine ecosystems. Despite this, scientists have lots left to learn about us. We have weird genetics and many aspects of our lives and biology remains mysterious.
My species has been fished and cultured for millennia (the Romans thought we were a great aphrodisiac!), but in the UK, we were heavily over-exploited in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Sadly, there are only a few places left in the UK where we are still doing well. An introduced oyster from the Pacific is outcompeting us for food and space and there is a risk that we will be lost completely from UK coastlines.
Sequencing the genome of my species will help scientists fully understand our genetics and biology, and this will really help you humans to help us thrive again!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Slimy but fascinating
What's it like where you live?
On the seabed, but near the coast, lots of mud and rocks, and other oysters!
What's your favourite food?
What's your family life like?
I have many millions of brothers and sisters
Are you endangered or threatened by anything?
Invasive species and habitat destruction
What's the best thing about you/interesting fact?
I can be male or female, depending on the temperature.