Network for Blue Biotech
Faro - Recent advances in the field of genomics have opened up many exciting avenues of research. Marine biology, however, has largely been excluded from the so called “genomics revolution”. Until now: On May 11, during the EUROCEAN 2004 event in Galway, Ireland, details were presented of a Network of Excellence (NoE), newly established with funding from the Commission that aims to introduce the genomic approaches and technologies developed in other fields to the marine sciences.
One of the partners in the “Marine Genomics” NoE is Professor Adelino Canario, director of the Algarve centre of marine sciences at the University of Algarve in Portugal. “The aim of the Network is to integrate approaches throughout Europe,” he explained. “One example will be the development of high-throughput gene sequencing techniques for the study of marine biology.” This element of the project seeks to provide research centres throughout Europe with enabling technologies designed to identify the gene functions of a wide range of marine life.
“A further aspect of our work will be to provide marine researchers with access to technology platforms, comprising experimental equipment and databases that integrate the produced data. This is made possible through the participation in the NoE of a number of large research centres in countries like Germany, France and the UK,” said Professor Canario.
Indeed, the network as a whole brings together 44 institutes of varying size from 16 European countries, which ensures the involvement of some 300 researchers in total. In order to make this possible, the European Commission has invested Euro10 million in the scheme, under the “Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems” priority of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
In addition to the scientific and technological elements of the project, emphasis will also be placed on the transfer of know-ledge to the wider research community through Europe.
In his own country, Portugal, Professor Canario hopes to encourage research centres and teams not involved in the network to adopt the technologies and approaches that will be developed, as for many of them it will be the first time they have used such techniques.