Large-scale sequencing projects have great potential to provide a wealth of knowledge to scientists and the public. Perhaps the most celebrated project of this nature is the Human Genome Project (HGP) which was completed in 2003. For many, the multi-billion endeavor was considered a “moonshot” for biology, but with its successful completion (99% of the euchromatic genome sequenced with 99.99% accuracy) came the launch of many other large-scale sequencing projects such as the Cancer Genome Atlas (2005) or more recently, the Earth Bio-genome Project (2018). The introduction of large-scale quantitative methods, such as next-generation sequencing, have also made these projects feasible.
In the last What’s Hot in Life blog post, we discussed how next generation sequencing (NGS) is used as a basis for understanding disease. This week I wanted to talk about DNA sequencing again, but in a completely different context. On November 1st, scientists launched an ambitious project to sequence all 1.5 million complex species on Earth. Their purpose? To save biodiversity.
Therapies targeting the function of a small intestinal protein, SGLT1, might have the potential to treat diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart failure, and associated death—and we have next generation sequencing to thank.