Find Out More About the Gloucester Marine Genomic Institute

September 5, 2022 9:44 am

The North Shore Alliance is made up of 30 cities and towns along the northeast region of Massachusetts. While each municipality has its own government, they all have resources to help local businesses achieve success while enriching the community. 

One of those resources is the Gloucester Marine Genomic Institute. In a recent North Shore Conversation, a weekly radio show produced by the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development and hosted by Laura Swanson, we had the chance to talk to Chris Balzan from GMGI. 

What Is Genomic Science?

During our conversation with Chris Bolzan we were able to find out more about genomic science and the programs that are helping strengthen our economy in the north shore region of Massachusetts. 

Chris explained that “Genomic science, the study of genetic material (DNA), provides the basic information necessary for understanding the characteristics of any living organism. Genome sequencing — determining the order of the four building blocks of DNA (A, G, C, and T) — is the first step to elucidating the structure, function, and regulation of genes and the products they encode. Recent technical advances have lowered the cost of sequencing with far-reaching impacts across all biological sciences — from human medicine and agriculture to marine biology and ecology.”

Recent technological advances have lowered the cost of sequencing the genomes which has allowed for a tremendous impact on assisting many fields of study in our region and across the globe. 

Studies of genomes can provide new insights into unlocking the secrets of the ocean’s vast biodiversity and offer new opportunities for the sustainable use of its resources.

Ongoing Research Projects 

Founded in 2013, GMGI was created in the wake of the decline in the fishing industry and works toward finding renewable sources of opportunity in the world’s oceans. They do this by continuing to study the world under the surface and its impact on the rest of nature. 

Here are a few brief descriptions of some of the research projects that are ongoing at GMGI. 

Marine Microbial Discovery Research

This research study uses a genomics approach to mine the vast genetic diversity of marine organisms for the discovery of novel compounds and biologicals with applications in medicine, biotechnology, and industry. The initial focus is on the diverse microbial communities associated with marine environments. 

Sea Urchins as Models for Aging and Cancer Research

This critical cancer research study uses sea urchins as models to unlock the genetic secrets of living a long and healthy life. Some species of sea urchins can live to extraordinary old ages (more than 100 years) with life-long growth and reproduction, no evidence of age-related decline, and no reported cases of cancer. Because sea urchins share a close genetic relationship with humans, they are ideal models to investigate the molecular and cellular pathways contributing to longevity and disease resistance with direct relevance to human health.

For more information about the research studies at GMGI check out our site and the vast world of opportunities that sits just below the surface.