The Aquatic Biotechnology group (Acuabiotec – FishBioTech Lab) focuses its research activity on functional genomics applied to the development of various aquatic animal species, innovation and optimization of aquaculture systems, animal welfare in aquaculture and the development of new species and aquaculture products.

The fundamental scientific objective of the Acuabiotec-FishBioTech Lab is to apply molecular and cellular approaches to studies of early development and disease on fish as well as the application of basic science to improve yield, performance and sustainability of global marine aquaculture. Research in our lab generally focuses on understanding how the information encoded in the DNA is accurately used by cells to perform the physiological functions that are required during the different phases of the development. The disruption or break down of these regulatory mechanisms is responsible of many developmental abnormalities such as morphological deformities. We aim to reveal the functioning of some of these mechanisms, which, in turn, will help us understand the cause of the associated abnormalities. We use zebrafish (Danio rerio) and turbot (Scopthalmus maximus) as model systems, although we also maintain collaborations for the development of experiments on spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus), sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) and the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris)



Our research scheme focuses on what we call the bottom-up approach. Explained in simple terms, our approach starts from the basic hereditary unit of a living system, the gene. This stored information is regulated from the dynamics of the system in order to adapt to its needs and to function under different conditions. The goal of our bottom-up approach is to study these basic hereditary units of the system, understand their dynamics and kinetics and through the understanding of their interactions and correlations move up in the system from the genes to mRNA, proteins and, finally, to metabolites and the metabolic network.

The experimental approach integrates several novel techniques including whole animal physiological studies, recombinant DNA technology, knockin and knockout CRISPR/Cas9, enhancer detector (ZED), Tol2 kit  and BAC transgenic technologies. We also employ diverse high-throughput techniques such as ATAC-seq, RRBS and RNA-seq to study not only individual genes, but the genome as a whole, letting us to measure changes in regulatory mechanisms at a global scale.

IIM’s Fish Functional Genomics Service: Currently, the Aquatic Biotechnology Research Group also offers advice in several cutting-edge technologies of molecular biology, genetics and histology, using zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a model species through the IIM’s Fish Functional Genomics service, integrated within the S&T Support Unit. You may find more info on the page of the service or on the web of the group.


Josep Rotllant Moragas

+34 986 231 930 – ext. 860288

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