At the BioGenomics2017 meeting in Washington, DC, a plan to — eventually — sequence all life on Earth has gained traction, ScienceInsider reports.
The University of California, Davis' Harris Lewin and others first developed this plan two years ago. The Earth BioGenome Project, as it's called, would focus its efforts first on eukaryotes, sequencing a member of each eukaryotic family to generate a reference genome that's as good as or better than the human reference, ScienceInsider says. The researchers would then sequence species from each genus to a lower resolution. Lewin, and EBP co-organizers Gene Robinson from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and John Kress from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History estimate that this effort would cost about what it took to sequence the first human genome.
"This is a grand idea,” Oliver Ryder from the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research tells ScienceInsider. “If we really want to understand how life evolved, genome biology is going to be part of that.”
ScienceInsider adds that the effort could be helped along by similar projects such as the Genome 10K Project that plans to sequence 10,000 vertebrates, the i5K project that is focusing on arthropods, and the B10K that is working on bird genomes. However, it notes that it might be stymied by funding, collecting samples from the wild, and by a lack of standards for amassing specimens.