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China National GeneBank Leads 1,000 Fish Transcriptome Project

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The China National GeneBank (CNGB) has launched an international collaboration that will sequence the transcriptomes of 1,000 fish species, with the aim of enabling new research into the origin, evolution, and the diversification of these animals, BGI said today.

In the 1,000 Fish Transcriptome Project (Fish T1K), the research partners plan to complete the sequencing and transcriptome assembly for the 1,000 species in three to five years, and to establish a high-quality transcriptomic database of fishes.

The goal of Fish T1K is to create a resource of information about these fish varieties that could help researchers address problems and issues related to fish breeding, disease control and prevention, seafood safety, and biodiversity conservation. To that end, all of the data from the project will be made publicly available through the CNGB.

CNGB's partners on the project include BGI; George Washington University; the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore; the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History; the University of Guelph; the Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute; Sun Yat-Sen University; the Kunming Institute of Zoology; the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, and others.

The Fish T1K project is inviting researchers around the world to submit proposals and to contribute fish specimens for sequencing. The project leaders are particularly interested in research projects that investigate fishes with unique adaptations and those that are of economic and medical value.

"This project aims to generate unprecedented resources that would be valuable for improving our understanding of the evolution, adaptation, and physiology of fishes, and designing strategies for the conservation and improvement of fish stock," Byrappa Venkatash, of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore and a member of the Fish T1k steering committee, said in a statement.

Although there are around 32,000 species of fish, and although they are economically important animals, only about 10 species have had their genomes sequenced to date, BGI said.

"The results yielded by this project will greatly help to improve our understanding of the comparative physiology [and] biogeography of fish, and to further explore their incalculable medical values, economic and ecological importance, and contributions to food security and biodiversity conservation," added Ying Sun, director of CNGB's Marine Biobank.