As a part of the IX edition of the Café con Sal conference series, María Fernández, our predoctoral researcher, was in charge of opening the UVigo representation in this cycle on 5th of February. She did so with a lecture titled «Hakes of the world: clarifying the phylogenetic status of five candidate species«, in which she presented the methodology and some of the results of her doctoral thesis.
María focused on the importance of diversification of marine species and aquaculture modernization through innovation, essential for the development and sustainability of aquaculture. In fact, her doctoral thesis, entitled «Application of genomics and transcriptomics to the cultivation of candidate species in aquaculture», aims to improve traceability of the genus Merluccius spp., characterize new species and differentiate regional stocks. The research has the economic support of the Letshake project by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, the Singular Center of Marine Research of the University of Vigo and the Xunta de Galicia.
During her talk, she explained that the first barrier facing the cultivation and conservation of European hake is its controversial species-specific identification, since reliable diagnostic codes inherent in all specimens of a given species are not known. Even so, she remarked a great advance in the phylogeny of Merluccius spp. in the last decades. In fact, she layed out the complete phylogenetic structure of the genus Merluccius spp. which includes all the candidate forms and morphemes described so far in this genus. The methodology used compromised genetic targets with different evolutionary characteristics and different phylogenetic reconstruction strategies.
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