• Question: in what way will sequencing the genome of these animals benefit modern biology? will there be any medicinal benefits? or any social benefits? or economical benefits?

    Asked by claire3 to Barn Owl, Brown garden snail, Common Crane, Emperor Dragonfly, Hazel Dormouse, Catshark, Scotch Thistle, St Kilda Wren on 21 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Hazel Dormouse

      Hazel Dormouse answered on 21 Nov 2017:

      The Hazel Dormouse comes from the most diverse genus, rodents! For example, the Naked Mole rat was found to have anti-cancer properties, which is now being researched and devloped to benefit humans! Folklore states that the Hazel Dormouse is immune to venom, which could be an extremely important discovery to develop anti-venom or anti-toxins. Another amazing ability is they can easily peel their skin off to escape predators without very much damage. I wouldn’t go as far to say this is a regeneration property like in the catshark, but as a mammal there is potential to help genetic skin disorder therapeutics!

    • Photo: St Kilda Wren

      St Kilda Wren answered on 21 Nov 2017:

      It’s unlikely that data from the St. Kilda wren genome would have medicinal benefits, but you never know. There are potential social and economical benefits, though they’re perhaps not quite what you’d imagine. The St. Kilda wren’s genome in itself will have little social and economical impact. However, by studying the genome and comparing it to other species, scientists can learn a lot about isolated species and, in turn, apply this knowledge to the conservation of isolated species elsewhere in the world. Many of these species have important ecosystem roles, are popular and charismatic, and may attract tourists. Sometimes we ask very specific questions, but we must never forget to think about the wider picture.

    • Photo: Lesser-Spotted Catshark

      Lesser-Spotted Catshark answered on 22 Nov 2017:

      A genome is such an important biological resource that it will undoubtedly be of use to several branches of modern biology including ecology and shark conservation, evolutionary biology, and biomedical sciences. Because sharks are such an ancient lineage of vertebrates by comparing our genome to its genome we can figure out what the genome of our most ancient jawed-vertebrate ancestors were like 450 million years ago, and perhaps even what they looked like! Potential medical benefits of sequencing the catshark genome include trying to understand and copy its ability to regenerate teeth, and continually grow cartilage. Osteoarthritis is a major cause of knee and back pain and physical disability in the UK and results from degradation of cartilage. If we could copy the shark’s ability to continuously replenish cartilage we may be able to improve treatment of human osteoarthritis.

    • Photo: Common Crane

      Common Crane answered on 23 Nov 2017:

      By sequencing us common cranes you humans can learn a lot. First of all, many more will be able to proudly state “I know kung fu”

      Then perhaps we will finally get a sequel to “Staying Alive”. Last but not least, it will become socially acceptable to walk around covered in mud 😀 Imaging how much the household economy would improve with all the washing powder money savings!

      Or maybe none of the above 😛

      On a more serious note, St Kilda wren put it very well. Not only sequencing will help to preserve our particular species, but this in turn will help the nature as a whole. And since everything is very connected, this will also influence the well-being of humans.

    • Photo: Emperor Dragonfly

      Emperor Dragonfly answered on 4 Dec 2017:

      Hmm, quite a hard question for an insect to answer…. One thing that dragonflies do amazingly well is track (and catch!) fast flying objects – we could use the genome sequence to allow us to understand how the dragonfly brain works so well at this task, and maybe use this knowledge to understand when the link between reaction and movement go wrong, such as in Parkinson’s disease…