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Identifying the Genomic Basis of Biological Variation: Whole-Genome Data from Non-Human Species

By Diane P. Genereux

Whole-Genome Data from Non-Human Species

As in the case of intraspecific variation, discovering the basis of interspecific variation requires both genomic and phenotype data. For comparisons among species, though, genomic data are required for just one representative of each species. Several international projects are currently focused on collecting the requisite genomic data. For example, the Zoonomia Project’s website (Zoonomia) provides access to the project’s collected genomes for hundreds of mammalian species. A useful starting point for readers new to the project could be the FAQ page, but a number of illustrated case studies are already available to read online. The Bird 10,000 Genomes Project is working to collect genomes from at least one individual of the roughly 10,000 extant bird species, and a review of goals, approaches, and progress are available on their B10K website. The Earth Biogenome Project website explains how the project is working toward an even more ambitious goal: to sequence the genome of every extant multicellular species. Each of these projects involves hundreds of scientists based in universities around the world working together to secure funding for individual projects, access samples in the field, and ensure the collecting of DNA of sufficient quantity and quality to serve for whole-genome sequencing. For readers curious about how human genes are named, The Human Genome Organization provides a searchable database of proposed and approved gene names at its website, HGNC.