What is Earth BioGenome Project (EBP)

International biologists have launched Earth BioGenome Project (EBP) – an ambitious project to read all the DNA in each of the world’s known animal, plant and fungal species over the next 10 years, sequencing 1.5m different genomes at an estimated cost of $4.7bn.

The Earth BioGenome Project plans to record the genomes — the DNA blueprint of life — of 1.5 million species of animal, plant, protozoa and fungi within a decade.

So far, 19 research institutions around the world have signed up to take part in the EBP and more plan to join.

They expect to read the full DNA sequence of all the world’s eukaryotic species — organisms whose cells have a nucleus enclosed by membranes. These are animals, plants, fungi and protozoa, which encompass all of life except simple microbes (bacteria and archaea).

Participating institutions aim to raise the required funds from governments, foundations and charities. The project’s first phase — producing a reference genome for each of the 9,000 taxonomic families of eukaryotic life — will require $600m, of which about one-third has already been provided.

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