Research Matters

Research Matters

Genomic Zoo

Frozen tissue from thousands of those collected fish will be source material for genetic sequencing in a huge new undertaking dubbed the "Genome 10K Project," a plan to map genomes from 10,000 vertebrates.

Aired December 6, 2009

2 minutes 3.7 MB) | Download mp3


Thousands of fish will be genetically sequenced in a huge undertaking dubbed the "Genome 10K Project." From the University of Kansas, this is Research Matters. I'm Brendan Lynch.

Ed Wiley oversees collection of fish specimens for the Division of Ichthyology at the KU Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center. Now, he's involved in plans to map genomes from 10,000 vertebrate species.

Ed Wiley: "There has been a lot of genomic work centered around humans, and that's very important. But we need a much broader sampling of the diversity of genomes in order to understand many things. There are evolutionary and very practical reasons to sequence these genomes. Let me give you one example - sharks don't seem to get cancer. Is there something about their genome that is different from our genome that would explain this?"

Few contributions to the Genome 10K project will be as large as the thousands of samples that KU will supply, which should make up as much as 20 percent of the data.

Ed Wiley: "Our unique aspect is to have a very diverse collection of tissues that we've collected over the past 25 years. We have these tissues in an ultra-cold freezer, and they're associated with voucher specimens that we preserve in the regular, old-fashioned way. Almost half the total fish tissues that will be involved in this project will come from the KU collection."

Wiley and colleagues met at the University of California Santa Cruz in April and announced the project in early November. The KU researcher also co-authored an article describing the project in the current issue of The Journal of Heredity.

Ed Wiley: "It's going to be exciting. I'm really hoping that that the technological advances we saw at our meeting in Santa Cruz turn out to be industrial-strength. If they do, then sequencing of a genome per week is not outside of the realm of possibilites."

For more on the Genome 10K Project, log onto Research Matters dot K-U dot E-D-U. For the University of Kansas, I'm Brendan Lynch.

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