The Darwin Tree of Life Project, led by the Wellcome Sanger Institute, plans to read the genomes of all known species of animals, plants, fungi and protists in the British Isles
About the Partnership
The Earth is experiencing the "sixth great extinction", an event that threatens the biodiversity upon which human society depends. As part of global initiatives to use genomics to reveal and understand biodiversity, and thus contribute to conservation and mitigation of the effects of catastrophic change, genome sequencing the Sanger Institute has initiated its Tree of Life programme.
The Tree of Life programme at the Sanger Institute is collaborating with the Natural History Museum London, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, The Marine Biological Association, The Earlham Institute, The University of Oxford and its Wytham Woods field station, The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Genomics, The University of Cambridge, EMBL-EBI and others to sequence to high qualty the genomes of all eukaryotic species in the British Isles.
Together we will collect and identify samples, extract and sequence DNA and RNA, and assemble and annotate the genomes of the aproximately 60,000 species with which we share these islands. We will make the data openly available for reuse in biological research, conservation, biotechnology and beyond.
The project is currently funded through the Sanger Institute core programme budget, and a recent major Wellcome Trust Discretionary Award to the DToL partnership. In planning for over two years, the first 30-month Phase I of Darwin project will start in earnest in November 2019.
All life is linked by the common thread of DNA, modified through evolution. We use whole genome sequences to explore the patterns and processes that generate genomic and biotic diversity across the Tree of Life.
The Genome Reference Informatics Team analyses genome assemblies to reveal and correct quality issues and to identify and add variation. It forms the Sanger division of the Genome Reference Consortium and the Vertebrate Genomes Project.
Some mosquitoes are better at transmitting malaria parasites than others. Likewise, some parasites are better at infecting mosquitoes than others. Our research group uses genomics to investigate these phenomena. We have two major research themes we are working on, described in more detail below.
The Sanger Institute is developing a major programme in biological diversity genome sequencing across the tree of life. One of the driver projects for this is to play a major collaborative role in the international Vertebrate Genomes Project (VGP).
Investigates the diversity of complex organisms found in the UK through sequencing and cellular technologies. It also compares and contrasts species' genome sequences to unlock insights into evolution and conservation.
The project's primary goal is to sequence 25 novel genomes representing UK biodiversity, as part of the Wellcome Sanger Institute's wider 25th Anniversary celebrations. This project will be a pathfinder for future long-read sequencing projects to demonstrate the Institute’s capabilities and will provide reference genomes for the global scientific community.