Scientists Crack Genome of Superfood Seaweed, Ito-Mozuku
The Marine Genomics Unit has decoded the genome of the popular brown seaweed ito-mozuku (Nemacystus decipiens), providing data that could someday be critical to local farmers.
The study, published March 14, 2019 in Scientific Reports, presents the world’s first draft genome of ito-mozuku. Just three years ago, the unit released the first draft genome of another local species of edible seaweed, Cladosiphon okamuranus, called Okinawa mozuku. Both seaweed species contain exceptionally high concentrations of fucoidan, a slimy substance thought to stymie the formation of blood clots and cancerous tumors, among other health benefits. The researchers have spotted which genes drive up this fucoidan concentration, a discovery that could have applications in the health food industry.