The project could lead to the development of new medicines. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Brian Gratwicke
Known as The Earth BioGenome Project (EBP), the international endeavour is expected to take ten years.
Described as 'the next moonshot for biology', the project will attempt to sequence the genomes of every animal, bird, plant and fungus on the entire planet - of total of 1.5 million species.
Project chair Prof Harris Lewin has likened the endeavour to the Human Genome Project which successfully sequenced the human genome between 1990 and 2003.
"Having the roadmap, the blueprints... will be a tremendous resource for new discoveries, understanding the rules of life, how evolution works, new approaches for the conservation of rare and endangered species, and... new resources for researchers in agricultural and medical fields," he said.
Achieving this however won't come cheap - the project is set to cost a whopping $4.7 billion.
"[It will lay] a foundation for all strands of biology and biotechnology," said Dr Julia Wilson from The Wellcome Sanger Institute at Hinxton in Cambridgeshire.
"We're talking about new medicines, new fuels for the future. We're limited at the moment by our imaginations - we can't even imagine what this would tell us."
Source: The Guardian | Comments (5)