The president of the Bank of Santander, Emilio Botín, has stressed that the Endangered Species Project Zero, where Lynxgenomics' belonged to, demonstrates that 'collaboration between universities and research centers, companies and governments is possible, and that when it happens extraordinarily productive.'
Botín spoke at the presentation of the first results of the Projects Cero, where there were too the president of the CSIC, Emilio Lora-Tamayo, and the general director of the General Foundation CSIC, Miguel García Guerrero. All these institutions give financial support to the enterprise, promoted by the General Foundation CSIC.
Emilio Lora-Tamayo highlighted that 'these researches and the results they are obtaining are a clear example of the success of the public-private cooperation. Whith companies support, scientist can perform cutting-edge research to protect five endangered species. And what's more, we can awareness society about the importance of respect nature.'
As for the general director of the General Foundation CSIC, Miguel García Guerrero, remembered the renewed orientation of this institution as a 'facilitator of the meeting between business and social entities to promote knowledge transfer in benefit of the Spanish society'.
Accordingly, Botín added that 'Banco Santander shares the Fundación General CSIC's ambition to become a catalyst for a growing and necessary public-private interaction in the Spanish system of research and development.'
Regarding the Lynxgenomics project, its leader, the researcher of the CSIC in the Estación Biológica de Doñana, José Antonio Godoy, stressed that the investigation is late in its progress. They have already obtained the necessary genomic information to achieve their goal: to generate the lynx genome. The scientist are involved now in this final part of the work.
The Iberian lynx genome aims to provide information for the understanding of the species and its preservation. Moreover, we will have a valuable resource in case that the specie becomes extinct. In addition to working with the DNA of Candiles, the male used to create the reference genome, scientist have also sequenced samples of another 11 wildcats (10 Iberian and a copy of European lynx) to make comparisons and analyze genetic variation in the species.
Furthermore, Lynxgenomics have successfully completed the sequenciation of the RNAs --they are the intermediaries that genes produces when they are active-- on the genome of Almoradoux, another lynx. Scientist have analyzed samples from 11 different organs and had completed a first inventory where it is shown which genes are expressed and at what level do in each of the tissues.
The financial support of Project Zero to this and other projects has the aim of promoting excellence, unique and extraordinary researches. The Endangered Species line concerns about high-impact investigation, designed to protect and preserve endangered animal or plant species.
The five selected projects, including Lynxgenomics, makes a total budget of 1,085,000 euros. An evaluation committee make the selection between 41 applications.
The main aim of this research is to generate the first map of the Iberian lynx genome, which will provide important information on the evolution of this species and on the genetic consequences of its decline.
The lynx genomic sequence has already been identified by CNAG and is in the process of being assembled. When the process ends, in 2012, the researchers will face a new challenge: interpret it and compare it to other felid genomes.