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Consortium Using Genomics to Help Manage Fisheries

SAN DIEGO (GenomeWeb News) – An international consortium called FishPop Trace is embarking on a multi-million dollar effort to develop genetic and other markers to help fisheries manage, conserve, and enforce their populations, attendees of the Plant and Animal Genome conference heard this week.

Rob Ogden, a researcher with the UK-based life-sciences product and services company Tepnel Life Sciences, outlined the FishPop Trace consortium's goals and strategy yesterday at a Population and Conservation Genomics workshop at PAG, held here this week.

The team plans to use molecular, chemical, morphological, genetic, and other markers to understand the population structures for four fish species: cod, herring, hake, and sole.

From a genetic perspective, Ogden said, the project will involve SNP discovery and validation followed by genotyping and population screening, analysis, and selection. With these markers in hand, he explained, the team plans to select a platform and develop a standard operating procedure for applying these genetic tools.

The team plans to use Roche/454 sequencing to discover SNPs in cod, herring, and sole genomes, and a combination of 454 and Illumina sequencing for hake, Ogden said.

The consortium includes researchers from 15 institutions in a dozen different countries. It is funded from 2008 to 2011 under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme and has a €4 million ($5.3 million USD) budget.

The FishPop Trace effort is intended to yield knowledge and tools for facilitating fisheries enforcement — from certification and random testing to DNA forensics. A secondary goal of the project is to inform new, ecosystem-based, fisheries management policies that take into account natural fish population structures, local adaptation, and species biology.

Data generated from the project will be made freely available to the research community. The FishPop Trace is seeking additional participants from academia, industry, non-governmental organizations, and government partners, Ogden noted.

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