A group of scientists recently published in the Journal of Heredity a proposal to sequence the genome of over 10,000 vertebrate species. The project, Genome 10K, supporters argue, should be possible to complete in five years at a cost of $50 million. The Genome 10K project would provide comparative information on molecular, developmental, and evolutionary biological processes across all vertebrate species. Because the study would include endangered species and species in threatened habitats, this initiative could provide valuable insights into climate change, emerging diseases, population structure, and conservation tactics. Thus far, the project has identified 16,203 species for sequencing, with nearly 60 of those species already completed.

According to the project website (http://genome10k.soe.ucsc.edu/home), “The Genome 10K project aims to assemble a genomic zoo–a collection of DNA sequences representing the genomes of 10,000 vertebrate species, approximately one for every vertebrate genus. The growing Genome 10K Community of Scientists (G10KCOS), made up of leading scientists representing major zoos, museums, research centers, and universities around the world, is dedicated to coordinating efforts in tissue specimen collection that will lay the groundwork for a large-scale sequencing and analysis project.”