Scientists look to map the genes of thousands of animals

A group of scientists unveiled the first results Thursday of an ambitious effort to map the genes of tens of thousands of animal species, a project they said could help save animals through extinction down the line.

The scientists are working with the Genome 10,000 consortium on the Vertebrate Genomes Project, which can be seeking to map the genomes of all 66,000 species of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian in addition to fish on Earth. Genome 10,000 has members at more than 50 institutions around the globe, in addition to the Vertebrate Genomes Project last year.

The consortium on Thursday released the first 15 such maps, ranging through the Canada lynx to the kakapo, a flightless parrot native to brand new Zealand.

The genome can be the entire set of genetic material which can be present in an organism. The Discharge of the first sets can be “a statement to the globe which what we want to accomplish can be indeed feasible,” said Harris Lewin, a professor of evolution at University of California, Davis, who can be working on the project.

“The time has come, although of course the idea’s only the beginning,” Lewis said.

The work will help inform future conservation of jeopardized species, scientists working on the project said. The first 14 species to be mapped also include the duck-billed platypus, two bat species in addition to the zebra finch. The zebra finch was the one species for which both sexes were mapped, bringing the total to 15.

Sequencing the genome of tens of thousands of animals could easily take 10 years, said Sadye Paez, program director for the project. although giving scientists access to This specific kind of information could help save rare species because the idea would likely give conservationists in addition to biologists a brand new set of tools, she said.

Paez described the project as an effort to “essentially communicate a library of life.”

Tanya Lama, a doctoral candidate in environmental conservation at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, coordinated the effort to sequence the lynx genome. The wild cat can be the subject of debate about its conservation status inside the United States, in addition to better understanding of genetics can better protect its future, Lama said.

“the idea’s going to help us plan for the future — help us generate tools for monitoring population health, in addition to help us inform conservation strategy,” she said.

The project has three “genome sequencing hubs,” including Rockefeller University in brand new York, the Sanger Institute outside Cambridge, England, in addition to the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology in addition to Genetics in Dresden, Germany, organizers said.

The work can be intriguing because the idea could inform future conservation efforts of jeopardized species, said Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity who can be not involved inside the project. More information about animals’ genetics could lead to better understanding of how animals resist disease or cope with alterations inside the environment, she said.

“I think what’s interesting to me through a conservation aspect can be just what we might be able to discern about the genetic diversity within a species,” Matteson said.

The project has similarities with the Earth BioGenome Project, which seeks to catalog the genomes for 1.5 million species. Lewin chairs which project’s working group. The Vertebrate Genomes Project will contribute to which effort.

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