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Earth Genome

April 26, 2018

Scientists set out to sequence the genome of every species on Earth.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Earth’s genetic blueprint. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The $4 billion Human Genome Project deciphered our genetic blueprint and added a trillion dollars to the economy. Now, scientists are embarking on the Earth BioGenome Project, looking at the other million and a half known species. UC Davis evolutionary genomicist Harris Lewin and his colleagues write in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that its payoff could be even bigger.

HARRIS LEWIN (UC Davis):

Sequencing the genomes of all the plants, for example, all of the marine invertebrates, will give us an entirely new palette for looking for useful therapeutics for a variety of human diseases.

HIRSHON:

The work will also contribute to agriculture and ecology. But Lewin says they need to start quickly: up to 100 species are going extinct every day, and the richness of their genomes are disappearing with them. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon