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ATLASea, a program forwarded by the CEA and the CNRS, was chosen as a laureate for the Priority Programs and Equipment for Research (PEPR) action. The French Ministry for Higher Learning and Research will provide €41.3 million for this ambitious, eight-year program aimed at sequencing the genomes of 5,000 marine species present in the EEZ of mainland France and several of its overseas territories.
ATLASea intends to shed light on these fragile biotopes, explore synthesis pathways of compounds of interest and study the impact of invasive species.
The enormous progress made over the last two decades in sequencing technologies has empowered novel possibilities for understanding, protecting, or wielding life in all its diversity.
The goal of the eight-year ATLASea program is to decipher and harness the genomes of 5,000 species present in France's exclusive economic zone (EEZ; mainland France and its overseas territories). The program will focus particularly on threatened, fragile, biologically important and economically strategic ecosystems. ATLASea was recently selected by the French Ministry for Higher Learning and Research as a laureate of the Priority Programs and Equipment for Research (PEPR) action, and as such will receive €41.3 million in funding.
Genoscope, a CEA-Jacob department, and the CNRS have teamed to head the program with support from IFREMER, the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN), Aix-Marseille University (AMU), Paris Sciences & Lettres University (PSL) and Sorbonne University (SU).
ATLASea will collect, taxonomically identify and preserve biological samples for each species.
Genome sequencing will be performed within the France Genomics platforms infrastructure. The program aims to produce gold-standard data with the intention of creating a highly reliable resource for future biological studies and biotechnologies. Those data will be mined in ATLASea's two pilot projects.
The first of those projects seeks to monitor marine ecosystem dynamics and anticipate the preservation of ecosystems critical for biodiversity, human society and the economy.
The second will identify novel compounds, metabolites and synthesis pathways to enable innovations in such domains as pharmaceuticals and nutrition, and furthermore promote sustainable economic practices.
ATLASea will be a part of the European Reference Genome Atlas (ERGA), itself affiliated with the Earth Biogenome Project. The program will also contribute to the European Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership, the European Union's Blue Cloud platform and the United Nation's Ocean Decade initiative.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.