November 10th, 02009 by Austin Brown
The Genome 10k Project is currently just getting started, but if 65 scientists get their way, the University of California Santa Cruz could eventually house an extensive database of vertebrate genetic evolution. The plan is to build an archive of the entire genomes of 10,000 vertebrates. A library of this sort would assist in answering many questions within evolutionary biology and would allow for the construction of a highly detailed natural history of vertebrate evolution. Genome sequencing is still a costly process, but is quickly becoming more affordable as computing power grows. The project’s leaders say that once a genome can be sequenced for $3,000 dollars, they’ll be “good to go.”
The Genome 10K project aims to assemble a genomic zoo—a collection of DNA sequences representing the genomes of 10,000 vertebrate species, approximately one for every vertebrate genus. The trajectory of cost reduction in DNA sequencing suggests that this project will be feasible within a few years. Capturing the genetic diversity of vertebrate species would create an unprecedented resource for the life sciences and for worldwide conservation efforts.
The growing Genome 10K Community of Scientists (G10KCOS), made up of leading scientists representing major zoos, museums, research centers, and universities around the world, is dedicated to coordinating efforts in tissue specimen collection that will lay the groundwork for a large-scale sequencing and analysis project.
The plan is to add this new vast collection to UC Santa Cruz’s existing Genome Browser, a publicly accessible archive of 45 genomes and to enhance The Encyclopedia of Life, a wiki with pages for each known species. (Long Now’s All Species Inventory was spun off and folded into the EoL.)