EDGE – Endemic De novo GEnomes
A research project is underway at the University of Malta with the aim of verifying laboratory and bioinformatics tools to establish a pipeline for genomic studies of endemic species. They are aiming to use this pipeline to decipher the DNA sequence of the genome of two endemic plant species namely the Maltese Sea-lavender (Limonium melitense; Leħjet ix-Xiħ) and Zerafa’s Sea-lavender (L. zeraphae; Limonju ta’ Zerafa). This project will go further than this by identifying the coding and non-coding genes in these genomes. These sequences can be utilised to figure out the evolutionary history of these species and how they came to be. It is also aiming to identify unique sequences that enable these species to survive in the harsh environment of the Maltese maritime garigue. This will help researchers understand what modifications are required in crop plants, for them to be able to overcome the climatic conditions that are underway. Part of this research project is financed by the Project EDGE of the Malta Council for Science & Technology, for and on behalf of the Foundation for Science and Technology, through the Research Excellence Programme.