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Nature Roundup

July 1, 2011

Scientists are sequencing the genomes of thousands of insect species.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

The insect genome project…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Entomologists from around the world are calling for The 5000 Insect Genome Project—an effort to sequence the genomes of thousands of insects and other arthropods. In a letter to Science magazine, the scientists say that the massive, five year effort will uncover new insights into insect biology. That will allow people to better manage insects that threaten crops and spread disease. The goal is made possible by the high speed and low cost of modern gene sequencing technology.

In other news, a new phone application called Leafsnap allows users to take a picture of a leaf and quickly identify the tree from which it came. It was developed by researchers at Columbia University, University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution. So far, it’s limited to trees of the Northeast, but the plan is to eventually include the whole country. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.