Understanding the genetic makeup of Kina

- The Kina Transcriptome

Kina image from http://www.mahingakai.org.nz

Gareth Gillard, Dan Garama, and Chris Brown, Biochemistry and Genetics Otago, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

This website will provide supplementary data to the forthcoming publication describing the kina transcriptome, in the internationally respected open access research journal "BMC Genomics" published by BioMed Central in the UK.

"The transcriptome of the NZ endemic sea urchin- Kina (Evechinus chloroticus)"BMC Genomics 1471-2164-15-45

The marine sea urchin species Evechinus chloroticus more commonly known by its Maori name, kina, is only found in New Zealand. Based on its apperance it has been placed in a separate genus to other sea urchins. Indeed, it is the type member of the genus Evechinus.

It is a culinary delicacy in New Zealand but difficult to obtain elsewhere, most of the catch is retained domestically, and considered a Taonga by many Maori. In 2013, about 875,000 kg of Kina was caught, much of it off the south coast of the South Island and around Stewart Island (475,000 kg). Previous work has investigated its unique properties and potential for increased export. The sustaiable commerical quota for NZ is set at 1,147,000 kg. There is also a large allowance for customary and recreational fishing.

Before this study there were no completely sequenced genes (or transcriptomes or genomes) from this genus.

As a first step to understanding the genome of kina we have sequenced the transcriptomes from different tissues from male and female animals. This analysis of the proteins expressed will provide insight into the colour of kina roe, kina's phylogenetic relationship to other sea urchins, its immune response, and provide comparative genomics to distantly related sea urchins which are used as model organisms.

For further information please contact:

Dr Chris Brown , Biochemistry, University of Otago.

Maggy Wassilieff. 'Starfish, sea urchins and other echinoderms - Sea urchins', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 13-Jul-12
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/starfish-sea-urchins-and-other-echinoderms/page-2

Sea Urchin New Zealand:
URL: http://www.sunzkina.co.nz/

NZ Kina Resource (2012) Statistics New Zealand
URL: http://www3.stats.govt.nz/environment/Fish_Species_Resource_Kina.pdf

Excerpt from University of Otago Maori Research Highlights 'He Kitenga Maori' University of Otago pg 18-19 relating to a previous project.
Direct link: KinaHeKitenga.pdf
URL: http://www.otago.ac.nz/research/hekitenga/otago030932.pdf

Supplementary Data for the BMC Genomics publication:


Annotations through BLAST2GO, KAAS and InterproScan


Fasta sequence files (as zips)

Echl_transcript_assembly_raw.fasta 54 Mb
Echl_transcript_assembly_subset.fasta 22 Mb

Alignments for phylogenetic analysis


Repeatmasker output


Project at NCBI: Bioproject-


Project at the Transcriptome Shotgun Assembly Database



Funding provided by the University of Otago
Sequencing services provided and subsidised through NZGL
Computer resources provided by NZ eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) and Biochemistry Otago.
Some kina kindy provided by Campbell McManaway of Cando Fishing Ltd
Video of kina fishing
Consultation with Maori included consultation with the University of Otago Ngai Tahu Consultation Committee and local Iwi. Dr Dan Garama is of Ngai Tahu descent.

Page last update 6/7/2015 by CMB

Back to main page: bioanalysis.otago.ac.nz