Building a Portuguese Coalition for Biodiversity Genomics

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João Pedro Marques, Paulo Célio Alves, Isabel R. Amorim, Ricardo J. Lopes, Mónica Moura, Gene Meyers, Manuela Sim-Sim, Carla Sousa-Santos, Maria Judite Alves, Paulo AV Borges, Thomas Brown, Miguel Carneiro, Carlos Carrapato, Luís MP Ceríaco, Claudio Ciofi, Luís P da Silva, Genevieve Diedericks, Maria Angela Diroma, Liliana Farelo, Giulio Formenti, Fátima Gil, Miguel Grilo, Alessio Ianucci, Henrique Leitão, Cristina Máguas, Ann M. Mc Cartney, Sofia L. Mendes, João M. Moreno, Marco Morselli, Alice Mouton, Chiara Natali, Fernando Pereira, Rúben Rego, Roberto Resendes, Guilherme Roxo, Hannes Svardal, Helena Trindade, Sara Vicente, Sylke Winkler, Marcela Alvarenga, Andreia J. Amaral, Agostinho Antunes, Paula F. Campos, Adelino V.M. Canário, Rita Castilho, L. Filipe C. Castro, Angelica Crottini, Mónica V. Cunha, Gonçalo E. Themudo, Pedro J. Esteves, Rui Faria, Carlos Rodríguez Fernandes, Jean-Baptiste Ledoux, Bruno Louro, Sara Magalhães, Octávio S. Paulo, Gareth A. Pearson, João Pimenta, Francisco Pina-Martins, Teresa L. Santos, Ester Serrão, José Melo-Ferreira, Vítor C. Sousa


The diverse physiography of the Portuguese land and marine territory, spanning from continental Europe to the Atlantic archipelagos, has made it an important repository of biodiversity throughout the Pleistocene glacial cycles, leading to a remarkable diversity of species and ecosystems. This rich biodiversity is under threat from anthropogenic drivers, such as climate change, invasive species, land use changes, overexploitation or pathogen (re)emergence. The inventory, characterization and study of biodiversity at inter- and intra-specific levels using genomics is crucial to promote its preservation and recovery by informing biodiversity conservation policies, management measures and research. The participation of researchers from Portuguese institutions in the European Reference Genome Atlas (ERGA) initiative, and its pilot effort to generate reference genomes for European biodiversity, has reinforced the establishment of Biogenome Portugal. This nascent institutional network will connect the national community of researchers in genomics. Here, we describe the Portuguese contribution to ERGA’s pilot effort, which will generate high-quality reference genomes of six species from Portugal that are endemic, iconic and/or endangered, and include plants, insects and vertebrates (fish, birds and mammals) from mainland Portugal or the Azores islands. In addition, we outline the objectives of Biogenome Portugal, which aims to (i) promote scientific collaboration, (ii) contribute to advanced training, (iii) stimulate the participation of institutions and researchers based in Portugal in international biodiversity genomics initiatives, and (iv) contribute to the transfer of knowledge to stakeholders and engaging the public to preserve biodiversity. This initiative will strengthen biodiversity genomics research in Portugal and fuel the genomic inventory of Portuguese eukaryotic species. Such efforts will be critical to the conservation of the country’s rich biodiversity and will contribute to ERGA’s goal of generating reference genomes for European species.





biodiversity, Genomics, conservation, Portugal


Published: 2023-07-10 12:53

Last Updated: 2023-11-30 12:07

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CC-BY Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International

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