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Research Group

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Genetics of Marine Organisms

Area: Biotechnology
Coordinator: Vanessa Valdiglesias García

XENOMAR is an innovative, multidisciplinary group characterized by extensive experience in the area of genetics of marine organisms, mainly bivalve molluscs, as well as a toxicological understanding of human populations and their relationships with health.

The research carried out by this group has two different approaches: one for basic science and the other for applied research. This enables it to contribute to the transfer of knowledge to both the private sector (companies) and the public sector (training of undergraduates, master’s candidates and doctoral students), thus redounding on the academic excellence of Corunna University.

The group’s mastery of cytogenetic, toxicological, molecular and biocomputing methodologies is due to the fact its personnel has specialized over the years at various prestigious centres to develop different tasks enabling them nowadays to take on biotechnological goals in European, Spanish and regional projects.

In recent years, the activities carried out by the XENOMAR group has maintained an outstanding level of international excellence in the area of marine organisms and human health. Is most relevant contributions can be summed up in the following goals with their respective research lines.

Goal 1. Genetic toxicology

Research line 1.- Development of pollution markers in human populations and cell cultures. Genotyping and populational evaluation.

Research line 2.- Evaluation of the genetic damage to human populations and mammal cell cultures. Comet assay test, flow cytometry, micronuclei, interchanges, etc.

Goal 2. Populational genetic analysis of marine organisms

Research line 1.- Molecular and cytogenetic characterization of bivalve molluscs. Development of molecular markers for populational evaluation and species authentication.

Research line 2.- Study of the genetic diversity and populational differentiation of marine resources. Paternities and seed. Conservation of resources for sustainable exploitation.

Goal 3. Genomics and proteomics in mussels

Research line 1.- Analysis of the transcriptomic profile of the mussel and its relationship with biotoxins.

Research line 2.- Time study of the expression of genes of interest.

Research line 3.- Study of the markers involved in the detoxification of mussels.

These research lines have enabled the preparation of protocols for speedy and effective biomonitoring in episodes of pollution in the marine environment and among human consumers, enabling an early assessment of the genetic harm caused by adverse conditions such as chemical pollutants, fuel and/or red tides. 

The genetic analysis of marine organisms enabled the pioneering development of new molecular markers in molluscs of commercial interest (mussels, razors, cockles, clams, variegated and queen scallops) for application in populational analysis, evaluation of natural banks, adjudication of paternities and genetic analysis of bivalve mollusc seeds for sowing and sustainable exploitation of natural resources. 

The characterization and analysis of the mussel transcriptome, as well as the study of the differential gene expression, enables an understanding of possible genotoxicity biomarkers and their usefulness in a marine setting.



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Vanessa Valdiglesias García
88101 2680
Investigadora distinguida contratada no programa Beatriz Galindo


Fernando Francisco Avecilla Porto ORCID iD PDI 88101 5593
Natalia Fernández Bertólez ORCID iD
Contratado/a postdoctoral
88101 2680
Contratado/a postdoctoral 88101 2680
Miguel Anxo Maestro Saavedra ORCID iD PDI 88101 2128
Lucía Mato López
PhD Student
88101 5593
PhD Student 88101 5593
Josefina Méndez Felpeto ORCID iD PDI 88101 2055
Antía Sar Rañó ORCID iD
PhD Student
88101 5593
PhD Student 88101 5593
Iago Vázquez Ansemil
Researcher Investigo Program
88101 5593
Researcher Investigo Program 88101 5593