• 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!

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