GENIALG partners NUI Galway launch seaweed genetic analysis company Pristine Coasts

GENIALG partners, Ronan Sulpice and Antoine Fort from NUI Galway in Ireland have recently created a company called Pristine Coasts with fellow researcher Masami Inaba. The Pristine Coasts team have various specialisations, Ronan’s research focusses on the genetic improvement of seaweeds for aquaculture, Antoine concentrates on the genetic analyses of seaweeds for genomic selection and ecological studies while Masami specialises in molecular biology and the traceability of seaweeds. Pristine Coasts provides state of the art genetic analysis of seaweed products. This involves using next generation sequencing (NGS), and a custom analysis pipeline developed by the Pristine Coast team, to retrieve genetic information of any seaweed species contained within a seaweed biomass or product. This allows seaweed producers and academics to identify which species they are working with while also allowing them to genetically characterise their strains should they wish to breed the seaweed species.

Following their genetic analyses, they prepare a report which includes the list of species present, along with phylogenetic trees explaining the genetic relationship between the species present in the investigated seaweed sample and the known seaweed species. The team will also provide a Pristine Coast Certified label which assures the producer, retailer and consumer that the seaweed product contains the advertised species, giving the industry and end user increased confidence in the market.

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Phylogeny and species identification of the Ulva strains used in the GENIALG funded work by Fort et al. (2020), using RbcL barcode and a GMYC model for species delimitation. Strains names in pink represent green tide strains, colour represents species clusters.