The organisms are divided into two groups based on their collective scientific merits, NHGRI said. The first group consists of nine mammals, seven of which will be used primarily to identify conserved sequences among the genomes of humans and other mammals. These seven organisms are: the African savannah elephant (Loxodonta Africana); European common shrew (Sorex araneus); European hedgehog (Erinaceus europeaus); guinea pig (Cavia porcellus); lesser hedgehog tenrec (Echniops telfairi); nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus); and rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
NHGRI said it would also sequence the domestic cat (Felis catus), to supplement data from the above and because it is an important human disease model, and the orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), for its importance in understanding basic differences between humans and other primates.
The second group comprises nine non-mammalian organisms: a slime mold (Physarum polycephalum); ciliate (Oxytricha trifallax); choanoflagellate (Monosiga ovata); placozoan (Trichoplax adhaerens); cnidarian (Hydra magnipapillata); snail (Biomphalaria glabrata); two roundworms (Pristionchus pacificu, Trichinella spiralis); and the lamprey (Petromyzon marinus).
The sequencing will be carried out by five centers in the NHGRI-supported large-scale sequencing research network: Agencourt Bioscience; Baylor College of Medicine; the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; The Institute for Genomic Research; and the Washington University School of Medicine.