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From Across the Isles

Researchers are aiming to sequence the genome of the plants, animals, fungi, and protists found on the British Isles, BBC News reports.

It adds that the effort, dubbed the Darwin Tree of Life, plans to sequence about 70,000 species by the end of 2030. These species, it notes, hail from a range of habitats across Britain and Ireland, from sediment in Plymouth to woodlands in Oxfordshire. "When the human genome was sequenced, it changed the way we do human biology forever. And it's really transformed how we see ourselves and how we work with our health and illness," the Sanger Institute's Mark Blaxter, who leads the project, tells the BBC. "And we want to make that possible for all of biology. So we want everybody, working on any species, or any group of species, anywhere in the world, able to have this ultimate foundation."

The BBC adds that the smallest of species to be sequenced have been the most troublesome, as it is tricky to tell different types of microalgae apart and further as they contain only a small amount of DNA.

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