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Vale and ICMBio launch unparalleled project to map DNA of Brazilian biodiversity

Announced at COP 15, scientific cooperation agreement will promote fauna and flora conservation in Brazil while creating income through bioeconomy projects

The Vale Institute of Technology (ITV) and Chico Mendes institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) have signed a partnership to launch “Environmental DNA,” an unparalleled project for the genetic and genomic mapping of fauna and flora species that are endangered, exotic and/or have the potential to generate income for farmers involved in bioeconomy projects, especially in the Amazon. The announcement was made last saturday (10/12) at the UN Biodiversity Conference, COP 15, which has been under way since Wednesday in Montreal, Canada.

Over the next five years, R$111 million will be invested in Environmental DNA, to carry out research in conservation areas overseen by ICMBio across Brazil. Species whose genomes have already been sequenced by ITV, such as the harpy eagle and jaguar, will be part of the project. The institute is a leader in molecular biodiversity studies. Over the course of five years, it identified 12,000 genetic markers of the Amazon’s fauna and flora.
According to information from the Environment Ministry’s work plan on this subject, until now Brazil has lacked a national consortium for genomic sequencing as well as a network to compile existing knowledge about the genetic markers of the country’s biodiversity, obtained from conservation monitoring and diagnostic activities.

The partnership between the two institutes will make it possible to use molecular research techniques for genetic or genomic analysis. This will generate valuable information for environmental quality monitoring. The refinement of available data will contribute to the conservation of species and increased productivity in bioeconomy projects.
"This is all part of the promotion of partnerships between ICMBio and various sectors of society, through which the Institute aims to expand support for the implementation of Federal Conservation Units. This project is even more special because it will expand the Biodiversity Monitoring Program, which means that the results will converge towards an environment that is increasingly protected, conserved, and by a population that is more valued and developed," says ICMBio's president, Marcos de Castro Simanovic

The work will include training the environmental agency’s employees at ITV’s site in Belém. Research protocols and tools will also be established to help monitor biodiversity in National Conservation Areas.

The project will also involve state-of-the-art sequencing technologies and it will serve as a national hub for international consortia that are sequencing the genomes of the world’s biodiversity. This role has not yet been filled by any other Brazilian institution.
“We know we are on the right path, thanks to ITV’s team, which is contributing to scientific research that is very significant for the country,” said Malu Paiva, Vale’s executive vice president for Sustainability.

Content with Press topics Environment .

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