Genomics is the study, on a large scale, of gene structure and function. The marine genomics initiative in the GPMB includes gene analysis and sequencing, transcriptomics (study of gene expression), proteomics (research of products of gene expression), metabolomics (large-scale study of products and pathways of metabolism), and bioinformatics (acquisition, management, and interpretation of large sets of biological data).
The genomics initiative at the GPMB is part of a larger Joint Program in Marine Genomics between the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The College of Charleston partnered with MUSC and received a large competitive award from the state of South Carolina to hire endowed chairs in marine bioinformatics and in marine genomics. In 2006 we received additional funding from the South Carolina legislature to enhance the marine genomics initiative. This funding will support new faculty and staff positions, graduate student fellowships, as well as academic support for new courses.
This new emphasis in marine genomics is being added to our existing emphases in areas of fisheries, toxicology, ecology, biodiversity, and physiology within the GPMB. It also complements the new College of Charleston undergraduate degree in Discovery Informatics. In addition to MUSC, our other Fort Johnson collaborators also have considerable strength and interest in marine genomics. The Joint Program, coupled with the Discovery Informatics program, is designed to provide a seamless continuum of educational opportunities in the field, from undergraduate to doctoral.
Through newly developed core genomics courses, students learn the most widely employed techniques of the field, including mapping, sequencing, and annotating genomes, microarray technology, phylogenetic analysis, proteomics, and bioinformatics.
Marine genomics projects by GPMB faculty and students are numerous and varied. Most focus on early, molecular-level responses of organisms to environmental stress, with the ultimate goal to understand and improve South Carolina’s living marine resources. Current projects focus on the American oyster, Atlantic white shrimp, grass shrimp, Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, and corals.