Genome sequencing project enters new stage

The Earth BioGenome Project plans to sequence all known complex species. Credit: Mirhee Lee

A global effort to map the genomes of life on earth is moving from a pilot project to full-scale production sequencing. The Earth BioGenome Project launched in 2018 as an effort to provide a complete DNA sequence catalog of all 1.8 million named species of plants, animals, fungi and single-celled eukaryotes. “Achieving the ultimate goal of sequencing all eukaryotic life now seems within our reach,” said Harris Lewin, chair of the EBP Working Group and Distinguished Professor of Evolution and Ecology at the University of California, Davis.

Organizers hope the digital DNA library can help provide tools to prevent biodiversity loss and protect ecosystems. The project brings together international efforts, including the California Conservation Genome Project, the Vertebrate Genome Project and the 10,000 Bird Genomes Project. This new phase was marked with a collection of papers published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describing the project’s goals, achievements and next steps.