Program in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology
Computational Biology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Genetics and Genomics | Integrative Biology | Systems Biology
Life on Earth has evolved from initial simplicity to the astounding complexity we experience today. Bacteria and archaea have largely excelled in metabolic diversification, but eukaryotes additionally display abundant morphological innovation. How have these innovations come about and what constraints are there on the origins of novelty and the continuing maintenance of biodiversity on Earth? The history of life and the code for the working parts of cells and systems are written in the genome. The Earth BioGenome Project has proposed that the genomes of all extant, named eukaryotes-about 2 million species-should be sequenced to high quality to produce a digital library of life on Earth, beginning with strategic phylogenetic, ecological, and high-impact priorities. Here we discuss why we should sequence all eukaryotic species, not just a representative few scattered across the many branches of the tree of life. We suggest that many questions of evolutionary and ecological significance will only be addressable when whole-genome data representing divergences at all of the branchings in the tree of life or all species in natural ecosystems are available. We envisage that a genomic tree of life will foster understanding of the ongoing processes of speciation, adaptation, and organismal dependencies within entire ecosystems. These explorations will resolve long-standing problems in phylogenetics, evolution, ecology, conservation, agriculture, bioindustry, and medicine.
conservation, diversity, ecology, evolution, genome
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Copyright © 2022 the Author(s). Published by PNAS. This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).
DOI of Published Version
Blaxter M, Archibald JM, Childers AK, Coddington JA, Crandall KA, Di Palma F, Durbin R, Edwards SV, Graves JAM, Hackett KJ, Hall N, Jarvis ED, Johnson RN, Karlsson EK, Kress WJ, Kuraku S, Lawniczak MKN, Lindblad-Toh K, Lopez JV, Moran NA, Robinson GE, Ryder OA, Shapiro B, Soltis PS, Warnow T, Zhang G, Lewin HA. Why sequence all eukaryotes? Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jan 25;119(4):e2115636118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2115636118. PMID: 35042801; PMCID: PMC8795522. Link to article on publisher's site
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Blaxter M, Karlsson EK. (2022). Why sequence all eukaryotes. Program in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology Publications. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2115636118. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/bioinformatics_pubs/178
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.