This Genome Canada-Genome España collaborative project started in the summer 2004 and continued for 3 years.
It is a collaboration with Spanish researchers and focuses on the genomics of two flatfish, Senegal sole (Solea senegalensis) and Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus), two flatfish yielding high value market products with the potential for production in aquaculture. Currently, the culture of Senegal sole in Spain and other European countries is seriously impaired primarily because of difficulties in controlling reproduction in captivity and suboptimal larval nutrition. Atlantic halibut aquaculture is somewhat more advanced, with commercial aquaculture production occurring in Norway, Iceland, Scotland and Canada, but there are still improvements to make, particularly with regard to judging when to spawn females, selecting genetically superior broodstock and enhancing disease resistance.
Thus, between these two species, there are a series of production-related problems that would be more easily solved with improved knowledge of several basic biological processes: reproduction, development, nutrition, genetics and immunity. Although the specific aquaculture problems of the two species are different, many of the problems of both species occur in these areas. Because both species are flatfish, they are evolutionary cousins and thus DNA and protein sequences are likely to be similar between them. This means that the efficiency of this research project can be increased by pooling the genomic and experimental data between the two species.