Scientists around the world are racing to document the genetic blueprint of every known species on Earth. The effort comes as the United Nations warns that an estimated 1 million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction within the next few decades.
“This is absolutely urgent,” researcher Joanna Hurley told CBS News correspondent Roxana Saberi. Join us and keep us moving forward.The more we encroach on the world, the less seeds we have.”
About 5,000 scientists from around the world are participating in the Earth Biogenome Project. Over the next decade, the team will digitize the DNA of his 1.8 million named plant, animal, fungal and single-celled eukaryotic species on Earth. By the end of 2022, scientists plan to sequence 3,000 of his genomes.
By DNA sequencing life on Earth, researchers have the goal of benefiting human welfare, protecting biodiversity, and better understanding ecosystems.
“Everything is interconnected,” Mark Blaxter, who leads the group working on the Earth Biogenome Project, told Saberi. “We need the services that these plants, animals and fungi provide us…so understanding how they work can also help humans.”
So far, British researchers have documented the genetic blueprints of about 400 of the country’s 70,000 known species.
The long process begins with researchers like Hurley helping search for species. Collected specimens are sent for sorting before being sent to the sequencing lab. The data is then shared online.
“We’ll be able to look at a species and determine if it’s endangered, and we’ll know what to do to keep it going,” Braxter said.
Scientists add that while decoding DNA alone cannot save endangered plants and animals, it could be beneficial as more species are threatened with extinction. rice field.