The Slovenian, Chinese and Danish Scientists Sign a Cooperation Agreement in Genomics

The Executive Vice President of the BGI Consortium (Beijing Genomics Institute), Dr. Duncan Yu, and the rector of the University of Ljubljana, Prof. Dr. Igor Papič, signed an agreement that gives the start to the project of determining the genome of the European proteus.

Researchers will work together to decipher the genetic code of the European proteus (blind white salamander) — tailed amphibian of the Proteus family, which due to the similarity of colour with the colour of the human body is also called the “human fish”. The natural habitat of the European proteus extends from the south of Slovenia (Postojna Pit) to Bosnia and Herzegovina. It lives in underground lakes and streams. Its genetic code is 15 times longer than the human genome.

Two groups of biologists under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Nina Gunde-Cimerman and Prof. Dr. Roka Kostanjška from the Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Ljubljana will be responsible for providing samples and biological interpretation of the data. The Chinese BGI Institute will provide technical support and take part in the data analysis. In turn, the Lars Bolund Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Aarhus, Denmark and Qingdao, China) will be responsible for interpreting the data in a medical context.

The results of this project will be published in international scientific journals and will be an important milestone in the study of the European proteus.