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 could appear to be one, should you’ve solely encountered it as a drying clump on the seaside 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 medication.
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 could be glorious absorbers of carbon dioxide and pollution, decreasing ocean acidification and capturing greenhouse gasoline. Sure compounds extracted from it, like carrageenan and agar, have a large number of additional scientific functions, from a development medium for different microorganisms to a vegan different to gelatin in desserts. However a few of 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 trade’s skill to develop is hampered by a shortage of genetic sequencing knowledge from related seaweeds, particularly elkhorn sea moss, or Kappaphycus alvarezii. However the Brazilian Consortium for Phycogenomics (BCP) is decided to vary that. The nonprofit mission was fashioned 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 corporations; 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 mission has a particular place in my coronary heart,” says Rodrigo Cano, enterprise analyst at SENAI CETIQT and mission supervisor for BCP. “We will see a transparent path from sequence knowledge to the event of latest cultivars and knowledgeable administration methods that may straight 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 newest 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 acquire trillions of base pairs’ price of transcriptome knowledge 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 may advance environmental efforts and assist farmers worldwide. Fahrenkrug explains that “molecular genetic strategies can be utilized to search out and shield genetic range, and within the face of fixing local weather situations, 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 following Illumina Agricultural Better Good Initiative is now open. Click here to study 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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