Investigating alien and invasive species through NGS at the distributed “Laboratory of Molecular Biodiversity” MoBiLab

In 2014, LifeWatch Italy launched a call for projects that includes the production of molecular data through High Throughput Sequencing (HTS) technologies and their analysis in order to promote the research in the field of Molecular Biodiversity as well as the multidisciplinary integration of the Italian groups interested in Biodiversity at different levels.

The call focus was “Alien or invasive species and/or their impact on indigenous communities and interactions among species” and all Italian Institutions participating in LifeWatch Italy were eligible.

The call was very successful for the number and outstanding quality of submitted project proposals and for the number of Research Institutions involved. All submitted project were peer reviewed by high-profile international scientists and 12 projects have been approved for an estimated total cost of about 100,000 euros (see here).

Starting from September 2014, all proposed projects have been activated by establishing a close collaboration with the project’s Principal Investigators, integrating their activities and experimental needs with MoBiLab’s consolidated know-how in sequencing technologies through the Illumina platforms and bioinformatics analysis.

Embracing several Meta-Barcoding and Genomic application fields, more than two hundred samples have been sequenced, using the MiSeq and NextSeq500 Illumina platforms available at MoBiLab, for the production of over one billion of sequences and the development of new workflows for the analysis of environments to date not yet explored.

Thanks to the LifeWatch Italy Sequencing Call 2014, interesting results have been produced on new alien species and the impact of invasive species on the indigenous communities of ecosystems under investigation and several papers on high-profile journals have been or are being published.