NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / January 20, 2023 / Originally published on Illumina News Center
As nicknames go, marine algae obtained the brief finish of the strand. The casual time period “seaweed” makes it sound like an undesirable pest. And it might look like one, in the event you’ve solely encountered it as a drying clump on the seashore or a slimy shock within the waves. However look beneath the floor and you will find that “seaweed” belies a stunning number of creatures: the billion-year-old ancestor of all vegetation, supply of half the world’s oxygen, and a vital participant in the way forward for world meals manufacturing, microbiology, and drugs.
The United Nations acknowledges seaweed cultivation as a part of its Sustainable Development Goals: As meals, it is a main supply of protein, nutritional vitamins, and iron; and crops not grown for meals may be glorious absorbers of carbon dioxide and pollution, decreasing ocean acidification and capturing greenhouse fuel. Sure compounds extracted from it, like carrageenan and agar, have a mess of additional scientific purposes, from a progress medium for different microorganisms to a vegan different to gelatin in desserts. However among the areas with the best seaweed biomass-like Brazil, with its 8000 kilometers of coastline-have but to take full benefit of this potential.
The Brazilian aquaculture business’s means to develop is hampered by a shortage of genetic sequencing information from related seaweeds, particularly elkhorn sea moss, or Kappaphycus alvarezii. However the Brazilian Consortium for Phycogenomics (BCP) is decided to vary that. The nonprofit undertaking was shaped in 2021 by researchers from SENAI CETIQT in Río de Janeiro, the Federal College of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo State College, and 7 different universities and firms; it is also making progress in a analysis collaboration between Scott Fahrenkrug at biotechnology analysis agency Forjazul and Michael Roleda on the Marine Science Institute on the College of the Philippines, the place Okay. alvarezii farming first started.
“The phycogenomics undertaking has a particular place in my coronary heart,” says Rodrigo Cano, enterprise analyst at SENAI CETIQT and undertaking supervisor for BCP. “We will see a transparent path from sequence information to the event of latest cultivars and knowledgeable administration methods that can immediately affect small stakeholders that produce many of the seaweed in Brazil.”
Introduced this week on the Plant and Animal Genome conference in San Diego, SENAI CETIQT is the most recent recipient of Illumina’s Agricultural Greater Good Initiative grant, an award given yearly since 2011 to tasks that assist analysis into meals safety and sustainability. The grant will allow BCP to generate a high-quality genome sequence of Okay. alvarezii and make it publicly out there. Utilizing an Illumina NextSeq sequencer, the consortium will accumulate trillions of base pairs’ value of transcriptome information for it and different seaweeds, probing the protists to find the secrets and techniques of how they develop and synthesize their helpful biomolecules.
Okay. alvarezii alone is a mannequin organism for phycogenomics, and perception into its biostimulants and carbon sequestration mechanisms might advance environmental efforts and assist farmers worldwide. Fahrenkrug explains that “molecular genetic strategies can be utilized to seek out and shield genetic variety, and within the face of adjusting local weather circumstances, can contribute to the sustainability and resilience of seaweed manufacturing, and allow methods to leverage its already super capability for fixing carbon for the worldwide blue economic system.”
One of many oldest branches on the tree of life is a key to humanity’s future. Hold that in thoughts subsequent time you snack on some sushi.
The applying interval for the subsequent Illumina Agricultural Better Good Initiative is now open. Click here to be taught extra.
Rodrigo Cano and Scott Fahrenkrug of the Brazilian Consortium for Phycogenomics, winner of the Illumina Agricultural Better Good Initiative Award, with Natalie Fontenla
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