Chinese scientists have completed the genome sequencing of one of the main types of sea cucumber, with high hopes the breakthrough can boost cultivation of a marine animal that is prized as a delicacy in China.
Scientists from the Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences sequenced and assembled the genomes of stichopus japonicus, providing insight into the genomic evolution of sea cucumbers, the institute announced on Thursday.
A genome is the full complement of an organism's DNA; complex molecules that direct the formation and function of all living organisms. The size of an organism's genome is measured by the number of bases it contains -- base pairs being the building blocks of DNA.
"The research has helped us to understand the evolutionary history of stichopus japonicus, and it's of great importance to the breeding of stronger species in the future," said Yang Hongsheng, the project's lead scientist and a researcher with the institute.
According to official figures, 194,000 tonnes of stichopus japonicus were cultivated in China in 2013, with the output valued at nearly 30 billion yuan (4.83 billion U.S. dollars).
Scientists began the genome sequencing project two years ago to conquer problems such as low survival rate in sea cucumber production. (Xinhua)
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