The gilt-head seabream (Sparus aurata) is one of the main species that is farmed in the Mediterranean area. (Photo: IRTA)
Significant progress in seabream genetic improvement
Monday, June 11, 2012, 06:30 (GMT + 9)
A team of scientists from the Aquaculture sub-programme of the Agrifood Research and Technology Institute (IRTA) in Spain and from the Laboratory of Physiology and Evolutionary Genomics of St. Andrews University in Scotland managed to sequence the transcriptome of the muscle of the gilt-head sea bream (Sparus aurata) for the first time.
According to IRTA, this advance will help "in the genetic improvement and in the commercial farming of one of the aquaculture production species of the Mediterranean."
Alicia Estévez and Karl Andree, from IRTA; and Daniel García and Ian Johnston, from the Scottish university, participated in the study, which was published in the journal BMC Genomics.
The transcriptome is the set of all molecules that form the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), which is responsible for encoding the genetic information contained in DNA, necessary to produce the different cell types composing an adult organism.
The transcriptome covers data of all the genes that are actively expressed in terms of external environmental conditions, resulting in the proteins that give cells their individual character (proteome).
The identification of this set of molecules will contribute to the understanding of the genetic and molecular basis of the gilt-head seabream bred in intensive production farms.
During the study, the scientists were able to identify transcription factors (genes that are activated to produce cellular proteins), signaling molecules (which modulate the expression of genes) and structural proteins that are necessary for the animal’s muscle tissue growth and development (myogenesis).
"We were able to sequence several thousand genes, which will help to better understand the biology of the gilt-head seabream and, in particular, the development of skeletal muscle tissue," Estevez said.
"Although this practice is widespread in the field of livestock, it is the first time that such genetic markers are detected for the selection of fish," the researcher explained.
These results were obtained under the European project LifeCycle of the Seventh Programme Framework.
By Analia Murias