A team of scientists from CCMAR and CIBIO decoded the sardine genome, a species of great commercial and cultural interest in Portugal, and made it available on the Internet, opening the way to new approaches to its management and conservation.
The Sardine Genome Project was developed by a team of researchers from the University of Algarve's CCMAR (Center for Marine Sciences) and CIBIO (Center for Research on Biodiversity and Genetic Resources) at the University of Porto.
The researchers decoded the genome of the species Sardina pilchardus – the sardines caught on our coast – and made available all information in public databases so that interested parties, including the scientific community, business and public administration, can use that information freely.
This is also an example of open science, where researchers instead of retaining the data for themselves, make them available to the scientific community to use immediately, thus speeding up the discovery process.
"We are pleased with the results of this work because we know that it will allow management studies and conservation of sardines that until now were not possible," said Gianluca De Moro, a researcher at CCMAR and one of the authors of the study.
The sardine is a resource that has been the target of important and necessary fishing restrictions in order to safeguard its sustainability and conservation.
For Bruno Louro, a researcher from CCMAR and another author of this study, "the strategic importance of sardines justifies a more advanced work that guarantees a more effective management of their populations.
These results make it possible, for example, to set the limits of each sardine population very strictly, which was not possible until now. In this sense, this team from CCMAR and CIBIO were joined by researchers from the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) and the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto (FCUP) to launch a major project of variation of the sardine genome and its application in the management of its fishing resources.