The genome of a Salt-secreting Mangrove Species Decoded by DBT-ILS

Source: PIB

What is the News?

Scientists have completed the genome sequencing of one of the highly salt-tolerant mangrove species, named Avicennia marina.

Note: Genome sequencing is a process of determining the complete DNA sequence of an organism’s genome.

About Avicennia marina:
  • Avicennia marina is also called Banhi in Odia. It is one of the most prominent mangroves species found in all mangrove formations in India.
  • Features: It is a salt-secreting and extraordinarily salt-tolerant mangrove species that grows optimally in 75% seawater and tolerates >250% seawater.
  • Significance: It is among the rare plant species which can excrete 40% of the salt through the salt glands in the leaves, besides its extraordinary capacity to exclude salt entry to the roots.

Significance of Genome Sequencing of this mangrove species:

  • Agriculture productivity globally is affected due to abiotic stress factors such as limited water availability and salinisation of soil and water.
  • The non-availability of water is a significant challenge to crop production in dry-land areas, accounting for 40% of the world’s total land area.
  • Salinity is prevalent in 900 million hectares globally and is estimated to cause an annual loss of $27 billion. An estimated 6.73 million ha in India is affected by salinity.
  • Hence, the genomic sequencing of Avicennia marina will help researchers in developing drought and salinity tolerant crop varieties of the coastal region of the country.
What are Mangroves?
  • Mangroves are a unique group of species found in marshy intertidal estuaries regions and survive a high degree of salinity through several adaptive mechanisms.
  • Mangroves are important resources for the coastal region and are of great ecological and economic value.
  • They form a link between marine and terrestrial ecosystems, protect shorelines and provide habitat for a diverse array of terrestrial organisms.
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