• Question: Is it expensive to complete a genome on the organisms and if so, is it worth it?

    Asked by csingh to Beaver, Canada Goose, Cirl Bunting, Danish Scurvygrass, Fen Raft Spider, Cyanobacterium, Pill Millipede, Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Tree Lichen on 14 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Cirl Bunting

      Cirl Bunting answered on 14 Nov 2017:

      Yes it is expensive, but the benefits to research are great.

      In reality, sequencing the genome of any species is a big step forward and it is likely that the resulting research would benefit more than just that species.

    • Photo: Small Red-eyed Damselfy

      Small Red-eyed Damselfy answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      It is still a bit expensive, mind not so much at it used to be!! Nowadays there are quite a few new technologies that have help to reduce the price, the most well known is Illumina sequencing which is a bit faster and produces lots of results.

      Is it worth it you ask? Yes it is, when you sequence an organism you find its genes and by studying what genes the organism is made of and how they function and the effect they have on your species.such us how they are related with other species, how similar the populations are. how the function of the gene has help animals to adapt to their environment via mutations, a few example are: how plants have change their genes to life in deserts or rainforest; how some insect mimic the shape and colours of others to avoid been eaten, all of this are as a result of modification in their genes and the more we understand how an organism is made of the easier is to protect their habitat.

      Of course humans are also interested to know how some species that are beneficial to our economy can been improved, like making plant immune to insect attacks thus improving the yield.

      For many more reasons the cost of sequencing is a small price to pay for knowledge.

    • Photo: Canada Goose

      Canada Goose answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      Is it worth it is a question asked a lot about basic research – it gives us some of the tools required to understand how humans work. Sequencing other animals and plants will highlight the differences between organisms. The goose for example looks like its immune system responds differently to viruses that would be harmful to other birds – e.g. chickens. Knowing how these work in the goose, and looking at the different building blocks, we can change how we treat these viruses in chickens.

    • Photo: Tree Lichen

      Tree Lichen answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      To understand how a Lichens symbiotic relationship has evolved we need to sequence at least two organisms that make a Tree Lichen- the host fungi and their symbiotic companion and this can be another fungi or a Cyanobacterium. How have the gene content of each altered- we can compare to wild type fungi and the Cyanobacteria as their closest relatives can live independnt lives!
      What proteins and other compounds allow them to survive so long in extreme environments and changes in the climate even over a year? Build in anti-freeze and the ability to survive very dry spells is fascinating to understand properly and sequencing gives us an added way to enlarge our understanding!
      Sequencing will be the first stage in the process to try to fathom how LIchens can also protect themselves against parasitic bacteria as well.

    • Photo: Fen Raft Spider

      Fen Raft Spider answered on 17 Nov 2017:

      Understanding my genome would tell us a lot about venom (which might be useful as a medicine in some cases) and silk, which could also be really useful in medical applications (eg. as surgical thread, or as a scaffold for things like nerve cells to grow on). But we just don’t know much about most silks or most venoms even though they could be useful.

      We think the fen raft spider may hold the key to some of these questions so it would certainly be worth it if it brings new benefits to humans all over the world!

    • Photo: Pill Millipede

      Pill Millipede answered on 22 Nov 2017:

      It is expensive, though in recent years with next-generation sequencing the cost has gone down.
      I believe it is worth it and I think all the species fighting to be sequenced should be, however only five of us will be lucky enough.
      The more species are sequenced the more we learn about how the diverse life on earth evolved. We can also understand how species are adapting to an ever-changing world, such as climate change and urbanisation, why some species thrive and other sadly do not.
      Some species could also be found to have medical or agricultural uses, some venom could be used to fight a disease or cancers, other species may have unique digestive enzymes which help extract key nutrient from decaying matter.

    • Photo: Danish Scurvygrass

      Danish Scurvygrass answered on 24 Nov 2017:

      It is expensive but, the costs are coming down. Next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies are reducing costs all the time. How to measure “worth” is difficult, but in agriculture it has been estimated that we have to feed 9 billion by the end of this century, up from 6 billion today. In order to do that we need to increase the productivity and yields of crop plants from what they are today. One very important way is to genetically manipulate crop plants to increase their yields.

      Sequencing the genome will give us a better understanding of those genes that contribute to yield and allow us improve crop production.

    • Photo: Cyanobacterium

      Cyanobacterium answered on 26 Nov 2017:

      To do a genome of cyanobacteria is inexpensive because they have very small genomes in comparison to animals and plants. They have the smallest genome of all organisms in the Flourishing Zone.