By Rachael Cardin

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — If you live in this state, chances are you know and adore these little guys.

“All Marylanders love to eat big juicy fat blue crabs,” said Dr. J. Sook Chung, a doctor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

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Since 2015 scientists have been studying blue crabs-what diseases impact them, how warmer water temperatures affect them, which females have the best reproductive ability, etc. In preparation for the future as climate change is seen as inevitable.

“Some of the traits make them stronger animals to disease resistance or growing really fast,” said Chung.

A female crab was taken from our waters in the fall of 2018, one of her babies became ‘the chosen one’ or who the genetic code was cracked from. It was a team effort that took years to complete. Billions of ‘genetic bases’ were sequenced together ‘just so’ in order to create the perfect DNA of the Maryland blue crab.

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“The mother came from Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay, and the funding comes from Maryland citizens so all Marylanders work together,” said Chung.

So all this science basically means one thing–the blue crab will never go extinct because scientists have a complete picture of what makes up the blue crab genome. They could recreate them with their recently recorded genetic code if needed.

“Your genome is written digitized, you can keep it bringing it back. I hope that never happens but yes in the long term we can bring it back,” said Chung.

And the code they have would make the strongest crabs in the water. So have no fear, Maryland’s staple icon and food aren’t going anywhere.

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The information will eventually be published and shared with the public so crabbers, environmentalists, etc. can learn from it and scientists can study it for generations to come.

Rachael Cardin