An international group of scientists is proposing to generate whole genome sequences for 10,000 vertebrate species using technology so new it hasn’t yet been invented.
New genome sequencing protocols that will allow researchers to embark on the project are close to completion and may be available within a year or two.
In preparation, they are identifying collaborators who can help assemble a collection of frozen or otherwise suitably preserved tissues or DNA samples from these species.
Their proposal, called “Genome 10K,” will be published this week in the Journal of Heredity.
“The idea behind the project is to prepare for this third generation of DNA sequencing technology that began with the Humane Genome Project,” said Oregon State University’s Scott Baker, who edits the Journal of Heredity. “Whereas that took nearly 10 years at a cost of more than $3 billion, the goal now is to sequence an entire genome in less than a week, for a cost of less than $1,000.
“If that happens, the impact would be remarkable,” added Baker. “And it will happen ? the only question is, how soon?”
Baker, who is associate director of OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute, is one of more than 50 scientists from around the world who is collaborating on the proposal. He is coordinating the effort to assemble DNA samples for all known species of cetaceans ? whales, dolphins and porpoises ? a task made more difficult because the exact number of species keeps changing.
As DNA analysis becomes more sophisticated, Baker said, molecular differences are emerging among some animals thought to belong to the same species.
Source: Oregon State University, USA