Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Community-Funded Sequencing

Residents of Puerto Rico provided "hundreds of individual donations" to help fund the sequencing of the Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata), the only surviving parrot species native to the United States.

While the results of the study, published today in the open-access journal GigaScience, should provide benefits for avian research, "what is most remarkable is how the study was carried out," according to the GigaScience Blog. Funding for the sequencing effort came from student-organized art and fashion shows as well as small personal donations and "shows how accessible and affordable genomics has become."

This type of community-funded sequencing "could only happen when the cost of reagents had dropped so precipitously that it can be afforded within a $10,000 budget," says Stephen O'Brien in a commentary on the project, also published today in GigaScience.

O'Brien adds that another unique feature of the project is that "the analysis and annotation took place in a modest university setting where students of genome bioinformatics were trained to drive assemblers, to stitch together contigs and scaffolds, and to begin the genome annotation process."

The rapid drop in sequencing costs has given rise to large-scale projects like the Genome10K Project for vertebrate species, the Insect 5K project for insect species, and the Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance for invertebrate species — which will soon create demand for bioinformaticians for 25,000 species, O'Brien says. "Will they be supplied by the traditional genome sequencing centers, by mega-sequencing centers as for the BGI, or by young scientists across the globe like those trained on the Puerto Rican parrot's genome, poised to make sense, aka a comprehensive genome browser for each new species' sequence? Time will tell, but I have my suspicions," he adds.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.