Wednesday, March 20, 2019 | ePaper

Genome sequence of Hilsa invented: Thanks to local scientists

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IT'S very appreciating that, for the first time, a group of scientists of Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) in Mymensingh have invented the genome sequencing of our national fish- Hilsa. After jute, the local scientists have opened up a new horizon unlocking the mysteries of Hilsa's lifecycle.
Hilsa, its scientific name is Tenualosa ilisha, also known as a "mystery fish". Main objective of the whole genome sequencing of Hilsa was to prepare a reference genome of Bangladeshi Hilsa, and establish a genomic database to get all biological information of Hilsa revealing their characteristics.
In the latest initiative, researchers of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at Dhaka University also led another broad-based research on the same. It would give scientists some deeper insights into what kind of proteins make up the body structure that helps Hilsa to live in fresh and sea water ecosystems. The findings also could be used in future to know how and when sex change occurs in this fish, since most of the larger Hilsa caught in the rivers are female.
We know, matching conservation management activities along with the biological features is very important for effective increasing and sustainable production of any fish, particularly Hilsa. In the recent years, different programmes such as establishment of sanctuaries, restrictions on the use of fishing equipment and fishing vessels in certain periods of the year have been imposed by the authorities to enhance Hilsa production. Now the overall production will be benefitted from the whole genome sequencing.
Country's about four lakh people's livelihood directly depends on Hilsa fishing. The contribution of Hilsa is approximately 12 per cent of country's total fish production and about 60 per cent of the total world Hilsa is produced in Bangladesh. In particular, the taste of Padma's Hilsa is unparallel. Already, the Hilsa has got the geographical indication (GI) recognition.
We like to congratulate the scientists for their extra-ordinary revealing about the fish. Certainly, the production of Hilsa in the sweet water would be possible also keeping its other components, including taste, intact. Hopefully, the fish would be available in an affordable price.

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