Big gaps in quest to sequence genomes of all animals

This article was originally published on this site

Efforts to sequence the genomes of the world’s animals tend to focus on those that most resemble humans with the work conducted almost entirely in the Global North, according to new analysis. Researchers warn current efforts are overlooking huge swathes of diversity and opportunity. Their analysis found that nearly 3,300 animal species have had their genomes sequenced and assembled, a process that gives organizational context to an organism’s DNA. While the rate is picking up, the number is small in comparison to the world’s 1.66 million animal species, and vertebrates make up the lion’s share of current sequences. They account for 54% of all the assemblies, despite representing only 3.9% of animal species. In contrast, the invertebrates of the Arthropoda phylum, which includes insects and spiders, comprise only 34% of current datasets while representing 78.5% of all species.