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Advancing European Aquaculture by Genome Functional Annotation

Project description

Genomics is the key to securing the future of European aquaculture

Aquaculture, the controlled process of farming aquatic organisms, is the fastest growing food-producing sector in the world. Maintaining fish health is vital for effective production, but infectious diseases are a constant threat. The EU-funded AQUA-FAANG project aims to improve our understanding of genome function and of the usage of genotype-to-phenotype prediction in the six most important fish species in European aquaculture. Understanding how the complete genome of the fish is controlled may address key issues such as infectious diseases and can subsequently lead to sustainable and profitable aquaculture production. The project will create a consortium of experts that will develop a long-term interactive hub within basic genome biology research.


Recent developments in genomics have advanced innovation in European aquaculture. However, despite the creation of reference quality genome sequences for the main species, our understanding of genome functions remains limited. AQUA-FAANG will deliver a step improvement in understanding of genome function and exploitation of genotype-to-phenotype prediction in the six most important European farmed fish species. The project brings together world-leading interdisciplinary expertise and industry partners providing direct pathways to commercial exploitation. AQUA-FAANG will functionally annotate the genomes of all six species, employing standardized experimental assays and analysis pipelines defined by the FAANG initiative. AQUA-FAANG datasets will be shared and coordinated with other FAANG initiatives via the FAANG data coordination centre, and made available through the Ensembl genome browser. As infectious disease is of paramount concern for sustainable aquaculture, the project focuses on understanding functional genomic regions in both healthy and immune-challenged fish. This will improve knowledge of the genomic basis for disease resistance and is complemented by novel approaches to increase understanding of immune cell heterogeneity. Standardized comparative analyses will provide essential insights into genome functions that cannot be gained from study of single species. Functional assays will be used to study intermediate phenotypes and prioritise causative genetic variants in trait-associated genomic regions to accelerate selection of disease-resistant stocks. Functionally-enriched marker panels will be developed to improve accuracy of genomic selection. An active programme of stakeholder engagement and dissemination will ensure uptake of project outputs by industry, academia, the public and in policy. The outputs will enhance precision breeding, drive competitiveness within the aquaculture sector, and enhance food and nutrition security in Europe.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 1 810 394,75
Universitetstunet 3
1433 As

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Norge Oslo og Viken Viken
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 296 325,00

Participants (23)