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Target species - IMAGO

Life originated and mainly differentiated in the sea. The now living marine organisms represent the most diverse and unique genomes, life-supporting systems and biological mechanisms amongst all living organisms.

Besides increased demands for understanding genetic and molecular mechanisms of physiological and evolutionary changes under global change, the unique genomes of many marine species represent an invaluable untapped resource for biotechnology and medical research.

In 2011 CeMEB launched IMAGO – Infrastructure for MArine Genetic model Organisms. Under IMAGO we will develop 8 marine species into new experimentally amenable genetic models. The chosen species represent key-species in NE Atlantic coastal ecosystems.

We plan to publish genomes during 2018-2019. Prior to the genome publication, the access to the current assembly data for a particular species can be arranged in terms of a collaborative project. If you are interested in such collaboration, please contact the project coordinators Kerstin Johannesson and Anders Blomberg.


Scientific name

Trivial name

Genome project


Other resources



The 8 IMAGO species

Table updated: 2018-05-28

Amphiura filiformis


Brittlestar, echinoderm
Has the capacity to regenerate arms and is an emerging model for regeneration and stem cell biology in biomedical research

In progress








Balanus improvisus


Barnacle, crustacean arthropod
Is an important fouling organism and a potential source for various areas of biotechnological research

Draft assemblies from several individuals finished (Illumina; Chromium 10x). Currently working on genome assembly from PacBio data.






Debaryomyces hansenii


Marine fungus
A marine yeast that occurs globally with extreme tolerance to salt/dehydration stress.


Population resequencing of 12 isolates of D. hansenii and 5 isolates of sister species. For some interesting isolates (double sized genomes) we also have PacBio-only assemblies.




Fucus vesiculosus


Bladderwrack, marine macroalgae
Has extensive morphological and ecological variation among populations in which several cases show large genetic and chemical differences.

In progress








Idotea balthica


Isopod, crustacean arthropod
Is an ecosystem engineer which increases productivity of seagrass beds (Zostera) by reducing epiphytes, and a documented controlling influence on the macroalgae Fucus vesiculosus. As a food source in itself I. baltica is a major part of the diet of many fish species, including the commercially important fishes.

In progress







Littorina saxatilis


Rough periwinkle, gastropod mollusc
Is strongly polymorphic and distinct ecotypes evolve repeatedly in contrasting microhabitats. This species is considered to be one of the rare examples of speciation in the presence of gene flow (sympatric speciation).

Draft assembly


EST Library

Canbäck et al. 2011 Molecular Ecology Research

RNA-seq through collaboration







Pomatoschistus minutus


Sand goby, teleos fish
Is euryhaline i.e. it is able to adapt to a wide range of salinities, however, not to fresh water. Sand goby life stages from pelagic fry to adults are staple food for cod and other large commercial fishes.

Annotated nuclear genome, published mitochondria


Adult transcriptomes (5 tissues)


GBS-seq, Microsatellites




Skeletonema marinoi


Diatom, phytoplankton
Generation time is 24 hours which makes it ideal for studies of phenotypic response. Benthic cells act as a resting stage, and can survive for at least hundred years and provide a short-term evolutionary archive in sediments.

In progress









The IMAGO infrastructure will consist of:

  • Cultures of each species
  • Full genome sequence information at least partly annotated
  • Genetic tools (morfolino, RNAi etc.) developed for some of the species
  • Routines for phenotype characterisation (proteomics, metabolomics, imaging)
  • An open-access database for storage and display of all information

The IMAGO initiative is funded by VR, Formas, University of Gothenburg (through the CeMEB grant)


Tissue banks

We keep a tissue bank, at -70˙C, of:

6000 Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)
2000 Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus),
500 sprat (Sprattus sprattus) and
1000 periwinkle, Littorina saxatilis tissue samples.

For most of the samples there is also extracted DNA in storage.


Page Manager: Eva Marie Rödström|Last update: 5/29/2018

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