proposal to sequence all 1.5 million species on Earth during next 10 years !!!

The (mind-boggling) Earth BioGenome Project — a VERY AMBITIOUS $4.7 billion, 10-year plan to sequence the genomes of all of Earth’s 1.5 million known species of animal, plant, fungus, and protozoan — officially began the first week of November 2o18 [see the attached brief announcement]. In addition to “providing insight into evolution”, the genomic data are intended to “help conserve and restore biodiversity”, as well as “provide benefits for agricultural and biomedical research”.

The Wellcome Sanger Institute in Hinxton, U.K.; BGI in Shenzhen, China; and 15 other institutions have pledged to raise $600 million initially and agreed to coordinate their efforts and to work with other sequencing projects (to avoid overlap in species covered, for example).

Most of these affiliated projects will concentrate on taxonomic groups — such as insects or fungi — but some will focus on the species of specific countries. For example, the Wellcome Trust announced plans to sequence within 10 years all 66,000 known eukaryotic [organisms consisting of one or more cells in which the genetic material (i.e. DNA) in the form of chromosomes contained within a distinct nucleus. Eukaryotes include all living organisms other than the eubacteria and archaebacteria] species in the United Kingdom.


Science   2 Nov 2o18; 362: p. 504

COMMENTS: This seems a bit parochial. Or naïve. Not all species on the planet have even been found/identified yet. In addition, Mother Nature is constantly altering/mutating the species that presently exist.

COMMENT: Well, so much for “easing the tensions” between big-science funding versus little (investigator-initiated) science funding

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