The need of decoding life for taking care of biodiversity and the sustainable use of nature in the Anthropocene: a Faroese perspective

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Biodiversity is under pressure, mainly due to human activities and climate change. At the international policy level, it is now recognised that genetic diversity is an important part of biodiversity. The availability of high-quality reference genomes gives the best basis for using genetics and genetic diversity towards the global aims of (i) protection of species, biodiversity, and nature, and (ii) in management of biodiversity for achieving sustainable harvesting of nature. Protecting biodiversity is a global responsibility, also resting on small nations, like the Faroe Islands. Being in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean and having large fisheries activity, the nation has a particular responsibility towards maritime matters. We here provide the reasoning behind Genome Atlas of Faroese Ecology (Gen@FarE), a project based on our participation in the European Reference Genome Atlas consortium (ERGA). Gen@FarE has three major aims: (i) To acquire high-quality genomes of all eukaryotic species in the Faroe Islands and Faroese waters. (ii) To establish population genetics for species of commercial or ecological interest. (iii) To establish an information databank for all Faroese species, combined with a citizen science registration database, making it possible for the public to participate in acquiring and maintaining the overview of Faroese species in both terrestrial and marine environments. Altogether, we believe that this will enhance the society's interest in and awareness of biodiversity, thereby protecting the foundations of our lives. Furthermore, the combination of a wide and highly competent ERGA umbrella and more targeted national projects will help fulfilling the formal and moral responsibilities that all nations, also those of limited resources, have in protecting biodiversity and achieving sustainability in harvesting from nature.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100291
Number of pages29
Publication statusSubmitted - 2023


  • biodiversity
  • citizen science
  • conservation
  • commercial exploitation
  • ERGA
  • European Reference Genome Atlas
  • genetic diversity
  • Genome Atlas of Faroese Ecology
  • sustainability


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