Friday, November 13, 2009

Scientists plan ‘genome zoo’

6 November 2009

An international consortium of scientists plans to collect DNA sequences for 10,000 vertebrate species, approximately one for every vertebrate genus.

Known as the Genome 10K Project, it involves gathering specimens of thousands of animals from zoos, museums, and university collections worldwide, and then sequencing the genome of each species to reveal its complete genetic heritage.

The project was launched in April 2009 and now involves more than 68 scientists, calling themselves the Genome 10K Community of Scientists (G10KCOS). The group outlined its proposal in the Journal of Heredity this month.

According to one of the lead authors, the cost of genome sequencing has been dropping steadily over the past decade, making the sequencing of 10,000 genomes a realistic possibility.

So far, the online database contains samples from more than 16,000 different species of vertebrate animals compiled from more than 50 institutions.

Participants expect the Genome 10K Project to help understand the genetic basis of recent and rapid adaptive changes within vertebrate species and between closely related species. The results can help conservation efforts by enabling scientists to predict how species will respond to climate change, pollution, emerging diseases, and invasive competitors.


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