An ambitious project that deserves to be funded:

The i5K initiative plans to sequence the genomes of 5,000 insect and related arthropod species over the next 5 years. This project will be transformative because it aims to sequence the genomes of all insect species known to be important to worldwide agriculture, food safety, medicine, and energy production; all those used as models in biology; the most abundant in world ecosystems; and representatives in every branch of insect phylogeny so as to achieve a deep understanding of arthropod evolution and phylogeny.

The i5k initiative will be broad and inclusive and thus is seeking to involve scientists from around the world and obtain funding from academia, governments, industry, and private sources. To get involved please sign up to this wiki, let people know which species you work with and maybe nominate some for sequencing as part of the i5K effort.

The 5,000 number sounds about right. It’s small enough to be feasible, yet large enough to significantly transform the research of hundreds of laboratories around the world.

For perspective, 5,000 is still less than half of one percent of all arthopod species.

6 thoughts on “i5K”

  1. How easy is it to sequence genomes nowadays? I know it’s much easier now than it was even a decade ago, but five years sounds pretty short to me.

    1. It’s easy, at least to get most of the genome (say, 95%) out in fragments. You can get the whole thing out of a sequencing machine in a week, for only a few thousand dollars.

      The hard part is then sorting through the mass of raw sequence data to determine where genes start and stop.

    1. Whole genomes. The new, cheap methods are indiscriminate- they just grab whatever they can. Do this enough times over and you end up with most of a genome.

  2. This sounds great, but annotating them is going to be a pain in the tuchus. Does anyone get paid for that?

    (that said, LEIODID GENOME BY 2016, LET’S GO)

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