Por Mauro Rebelo

A genome is more than a recipe book

The simplest organism in existence is a bacterium, with approximately 500 genes. Human beings are the most complex, with approximately 30,000 genes. It’s not easy to define genes, but we can say that they are responsible for coding proteins and these, in turn, are responsible for the entire structure and functions of an organism. Genes are sequences of DNA and are stored in the genome.
Over the course of evolution, species have shaped themselves, merging, duplicating, dividing. This has created redundancy, which has allowed for differentiation and specialization. All this evolutionary history is told in the genome of a species.
The genome is not just a species’ recipe book. ‘It’s the history book of the species, it’s the map, the archive, it’s the safe, it’s the treasure of a species.
With the genome, we have a biological basis, we can interpret the behavior of the species, how it relates to itself, to others and to its environment. We can interpret, model and extrapolate its behavior and its response to variations in the environment.
By understanding their genetics, we can understand where they came from, and estimate where they will go with and without our intervention. We will have a solid basis for designing control tools.
The presence of Genes X and Y helps us to understand the coral’s resistance to Z and N
The absence of the F and G genes suggests susceptibility to T and V, and that these could be good targets for control.
With the sun coral genome, we will be able to understand what promotes sexual and asexual reproduction. Which genes are responsible for producing CaCo3, how they adhere to any surface, their high regenerative power and their high growth rate.
Less than 0.1%(?) of known organisms have their genome sequenced. This is because sequencing a genome de novo (without prior information) is still very expensive and difficult. For this reason, the sun coral genome project, sponsored by Repsol, with funds from the ANP R&D program, and carried out by Bio Bureau and SENAI Biosynthetics, which in just 18 months sequenced the genomes of three species that make up the group, is a memorable scientific achievement that will contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge, the preservation of the environment and the development of the Brazilian oil industry.
The sun coral genome and the history of the development of this project are available to the entire scientific community at www.theorangecupcoralgenome.org. To find out more, visit and follow us on social media.

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