ShEST Shrimp Genome Project


Site Map

 Start » Introduction




Press Releases
Restricted Services



The EST Genome Project of the Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp aims to sequence thousands of EST (Expressed Sequence Tags), in three years, through a network of laboratories, placing Brazil at the forefront of genomic studies in this species and promoting the development of modern genetically-based technologies for the Brazilian productive sector, such as genetic mapping, identification of genes related to characters of economical interest and marker-assisted selection.

L. vannamei is originally from the American Pacific, and, ever since its introduction in Brazilian aquaculture has been standing out as the main cultured species of our coast, currently amounting to a total annual production of more than 40 million tons.

The size of the penaeid shrimp genome is approximately two-thirds of the human genome, or nearly 2 billion base pairs.


The main goal of the current project is to sequence thousands of EST (Expressed Sequence Tags) of the Litopenaeus vannamei marine shrimp, the principal crustacean species currently reared in Brazil.

Besides sequencing, the present project shall also posteriorly incorporate two important approaches: (1) the functional genome and (2) the physical mapping of the DNA. The physical mapping, including the use of other molecular markers such as microsatellites as well as the chromosome localization of the sequenced ESTs, will permit the development of a saturated map that will serve as a base for novel studies that aim to locate QTLs (Quantitative Trait Loci = loci linked to characters of economical interest). The expression of various genes of interest identified in the sequencing shall be studied in the functional genome, such as regulatory protein genes (for example, homeobox), proteases related to the protein metabolism, and cystatins, which are anti-fungal and anti-parasites proteins.

Other objectives deriving from the Shrimp EST Genome Project are: 

(a) the formation of a genetic base of knowledge for L. vannamei that will be available to the shrimp-producing sector of Brazil and to the institutions that regulate or ordinate its productive chain; 

(b) the availability of an elevated number of molecular markers that will fund a future Program of Genetic Improvement of the species for the production of superior shrimp lineages; 

(c) through the identification of candidate genes related to characters of economic interest, to motivate the use of this knowledge in the production of disease-resistant and optimized-growth lineages; 

(d) the utilization of the knowledge obtained from the L. vannamei genome as a model for inferences and future investigations of the genomes of our native shrimp species;  

(e) the identification of genes that may be expressed in a laboratory whose proteins may be studied in relation to their structure and function and possible commercial use.


Copyright © 2003 - ShEST Shrimp Genome Project 
  All Rights Reserved Credits WebMaster: Diogo Santana Martins