Activity: Talk or presentation › Lecture and oral contribution
Next generation sequencing (NGS) technology has spurred a worldwide revolution in genomics research. Because of the prime role of natural and breeding populations in agriculture and marine environments, the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) focusses on the behaviour and genetic composition of populations and their interaction with the environment. We have recently established a platform for population genomics (www.ilvogenomics.be) to study the genome composition and the encoded functionality of animal or plant populations or microbial communities.
An overview of latest research results will be presented to illustrate how ILVO builds a bridge between fundamental and applied research. A thorough understanding of the behaviour of biological systems is required to optimise the sustainable use of agriculturally important organisms, or to counter environmental threats such as global warming and pollution. Specific cases will highlight novel approaches. For instance, the analysis of shifts in the genome composition of plant and animal populations can give insight in the drivers for adaptation and selection. This can be applied in innovative breeding strategies, or to study the population dynamics or migration behaviour of invasive marine species. Candidate gene discovery and functional genetic diversity studies lead to the identification of key genes in regulatory pathways controlling growth and development of ornamental and forage species. Furthermore, we study microbial communities in rumen in relation to methane production, in the soil rhizosphere in relation to plant health, on marine plastic litter, and in the pig intestinal tract in the context of antibiotics resistance. Thus, metagenomic analysis can give insight into the taxonomical composition of a complex microbial community, which gene functions are encoded in the metagenome, and how the metapopulation changes in interaction with its direct environment.