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As France's leading biocluster, Genopole is an incubator for cutting-edge projects in biotechnology. Located in the city of Évry, just south of Paris, Genopole provides a unique environment for scientists and entrepreneurs seeking to advance research and innovation.

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Highlights

Toward the genomic selection of farmed insects


France is historically a land of livestock farming. Cows for meat or milk, sheep, pigs, fowl of all sorts; France rears them all. And insects! With its genomic selection project for Tenebrio molitor beeties, the Genopole company Ÿnsect and its biocluster partner, the sequencing center Genoscope, are making France a pioneer in insect farming.
Ynsect & Genoscope : Vers la sélection génomique des insectes d’élevage Ynsect & Genoscope : Vers la sélection génomique des insectes d’élevage

 

Ÿnsect’s project Ÿnfabre* has no equivalent anywhere in the world. The company is currently building the largest-ever insect farm for animal nutrition today and human nutrition tomorrow. The project’s objective is to select the best-breeding mealworm beetles for the large-scale production of their larvae, which are a rich source of proteins and other nutritional elements (oils, vitamins, etc.).
This agro-industrial project is the fruit of research on mealworm production and transformation carried out in Ÿnsect’s laboratory. The company arrived at Genopole in 2013 and has since become one of the world’s largest private entities for insect research

The Ÿnfabre project builds upon knowledge of the insect’s genome, assembled recently by the national sequencing center Genoscope, also located at Genopole. The state-of-the-art methods deployed for that achievement were able to deliver very long DNA sequences close to those of an entire chromosome. Ÿnsect will thus be able to study both biological traits and this high-quality genomic map for the integrated selection of beetles. The desired characteristics include rapid growth and reproduction, a good feed conversion rate (input feed to output nutrition ratio) and good disease resistance.

This ambitious program addresses the important issue of nutritional security and more specifically that of alternative proteins for an ever-growing human population while also reducing environmental impacts via energy-frugal, large-scale insect farming. Thereto, on 4 July 2022, Ÿnsect got the green light from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for the use of a second insect larva, that of the lesser mealworm beetle (Alphitobius diaperinus), for human nutrition (https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.2903/j.efsa.2022.7325).

In conclusion


By bringing together the scientific and technological competencies of two of Genopole’s actors, this project contributes to knowledge on the genetics of insects and notably of mealworms. It furthermore places France as a leader in the production and selection of farmed insects.

Reference

* Ÿnfabre

In early 2022, the Ÿnfabre project obtained €4.34 million in financing from the Investments for the Future program piloted by Bpifrance.

Forwarded by Ÿnsect, the project associates the competencies of Genoscope in sequencing and genomics, of Aprex Solutions in digital analysis and artificial intelligence tools, and of Thermo Fisher Scientific in high throughput sequencing and genotyping.

** Read the report on sequencing the Tenebrio molitor genome

Chromosome-scale assembly of the yellow mealworm genome – A high-quality reference genome for Tenebrio molitor breeding and sustainable production. Open Research Europe 2022.
doi.org/10.12688/openreseurope.13987.2

 

Article posted on 12 July 2022

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