Marine Genomics: News and Views

Mar Genomics. 2017 Feb;31:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.margen.2016.09.002. Epub 2016 Sep 17.


Marine ecosystems occupy 71% of the surface of our planet, yet we know little about their diversity. Although the inventory of species is continually increasing, as registered by the Census of Marine Life program, only about 10% of the estimated two million marine species are known. This lag between observed and estimated diversity is in part due to the elusiveness of most aquatic species and the technical difficulties of exploring extreme environments, as for instance the abyssal plains and polar waters. In the last decade, the rapid development of affordable and flexible high-throughput sequencing approaches have been helping to improve our knowledge of marine biodiversity, from the rich microbial biota that forms the base of the tree of life to a wealth of plant and animal species. In this review, we present an overview of the applications of genomics to the study of marine life, from evolutionary biology of non-model organisms to species of commercial relevance for fishing, aquaculture and biomedicine. Instead of providing an exhaustive list of available genomic data, we rather set to present contextualized examples that best represent the current status of the field of marine genomics.

Keywords: Evolution; Genomics; Marine species; RADseq; RNAseq; Targeted sequencing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aquaculture*
  • Aquatic Organisms / genetics*
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Fisheries*
  • Genomics*
  • Oceans and Seas