Newsflash! The good folks at the Molluscan Broodstock Program have sex with everyone's favorite pearl shitter, the OYSTER! Well, sort of. MBP is a selective breeding and genotyping program funded by the USDA to improve oyster production in the Northwest.

Of all the fabled creatures of science, the oyster is rarely depicted as being a sexy consort. However, as aphrodisiacs go, it's generally noted that if you wash a few down with tequila before bedtime, you'll stay hard longer. Liking the person you take to bed also works but that's a different story.

The story today is a Once Upon a Time Q&A interview with oyster expert John Brake, field coordinator for MBP.

Q: What's up with MBP?

A: We produce 50-60 families of oysters at a time then use these families to make subsequent generations. This type of "selective breeding" has shown great success in livestock and plants over the past few centuries.

Q: Are poachers called "oyster shooters?"

A: No, oyster shooters are commonly found at local oyster bars, where guns are not allowed--maybe they use nets.

Q: How do oysters have sex, and do you like to watch?

A: In the wild, oysters shed their sperm and eggs into the water at the same time, causing little free floating oysters to scatter for weeks to come. We do something called "strip spawning," and though this sounds provocative too, it involves opening the oysters and surgically removing the sperm or eggs from them... it's a one time thing, and not quite as pleasant as one might assume.

Q: Are you trying to improve their cuteness, and are there pink ones?

A: We select oysters based on appearance, but this is mainly for consumers, not the oysters themselves. There aren't pink ones, but there are rose-colored oysters. We are actually in the process of selecting various colors for new oyster strains. These can include all-blacks, all-whites, yellows, stripes, and possibly others.

Q: Are oysters an aphrodisiac, and will they improve SAT scores?

A: Oysters have been called nature's Viagra, but the jury's still out on the SAT scores. I'll bet if you ask anyone that works with oysters, they'll tell you that just working with them makes you smart. That is until payday comes around--then the oyster workers' true intellect can be called into question.