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Biology Moonshot, Earth's BioGenome Project, covers Earth's eukaryotes

Man is not the measure of all things, at least not all genomic. Otherwise, we would have been able to sequence the human genome and call it a day. No, we expand our genomic vision to the point that we only sequence the DNA of every eukaryotic organism on the planet. It would be a big undertaking, but well worth the advocates of the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP), a moonshot for biology that would fulfill its mission in 10 years.

To date, the genomes of less than 0.2% of all eukaryotic species – that is, all non-bacterial and non-archaeological species ̵

1; have been sequenced. This leaves a lot of work for EBP, an international initiative that proposes to sequense and functionally annotate the genomes of 1.5 million known species of eukaryotes, a massive group that contains plants, animals, fungi and other organisms whose cells Having a nucleus hosts their chromosomal DNA. EBP also seeks to reveal some of the estimated 10 to 15 million unknown species of eukaryotes, most of which are single-celled organisms, insects and small animals in the oceans.

Details of the EBP appeared on April 23 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ( PNAS ), in an article entitled "Earth BioGenome Project: Sequencing of Life for the Future of life. " The article, which was contributed by 24 interdisciplinary experts, argues that a comprehensive understanding of Earth's biodiversity would enhance humanity's responsibility for its resources.

"Genomics has helped scientists develop new medicines and new sources of renewable energy, feed a growing population, protect the environment, and support human survival and well-being," said Gene Robinson, Ph.D., a director of renewable energy proposed efforts, a professor of entomology and the director of the Carl R. Woese Institute of Genome Biology at the University of Illinois. "The Earth BioGenome Project will give us insights into the history and diversity of life and help us better understand how we can sustain it."

In the article PNAS EBP leaders confirmed the challenges to overcome: "We describe hurdles facing the project, including guidelines for data sharing, which will be a permanent, freely available resource for future Ensure scientific discoveries while respecting the Nagoya Protocol access and benefit sharing guidelines, as well as describing the scientific and organizational challenges involved in implementing such an ambitious project and the proposed structure to achieve the project objectives. "

The EBP leadership also sounded hopeful and said how the project would use existing resources and institutions to raise and maintain the world's biodiversity. "For example, the botanical garden collections in the world have more than a third of all plant species," Dr. Robinson.

The authors of PNAS work also pointed to the highly successful precedent of the human genome project. The US and funding agencies in other countries were founded in 1990 and completed in 2003. They invested about $ 3 billion in sequencing the entire human genome. The resulting "genomic revolution" has enormous implications not only in human medicine, but also in veterinary medicine, agricultural biology, biotechnology, environmental science, renewable energy, forensics and industrial biotechnology. In a 2013 Battelle Memorial Institute report, the financial benefit of the Human Genome Project for the US economy was estimated at nearly $ 1 trillion.

Harris A. Lewin, senior author of the article, a respected professor Englisch: bio-pro.de/en/region/stern/magazine/…2/index.html EBP even more opportunities to generate scientific and social benefits.

"EBP," he explained, "will provide the scientific basis for a new bioeconomy that has the potential to provide people around the world with innovative solutions to health, environmental, economic and social issues, especially in developing countries, that have significant biodiversity. "

Advances in technology have made the project possible. The total genome sequencing cost has dropped to approximately $ 1,000 for a genome size sequence quality and approximately $ 30,000 for a reference quality of the chromosomes of an average eukaryotic genome.

With advances in high-performance computation, data storage and bioinformatics, high-throughput assembly and genome characterization is now feasible, although innovations in algorithms for aligning, interpreting and visualizing large data sets will be necessary. The completed project is expected to require about an exabyte (one billion gigabytes) of digital storage capacity.

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