A mission to sequence the genome of every known animal, plant, fungus and protozoan – a group of single-celled organisms – is underway.
The Earth BioGenome Project (EBP) has been described as a “moonshot for biology”. A key aim is to use the information in efforts to conserve threatened species. Scientists say clues about how species adapt to environmental change could be hidden in their DNA code.
As part of the project, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, which played a major part in the human genome project, has committed to sequencing the genomes of all 66,000 UK species. Dr Jim Smith, director of science at the Wellcome Trust described the mission as timely, adding that it was “incumbent upon human beings to raise awareness of biodiversity”. Read more