Modern Day ‘Noah’s Ark’ Will Store DNA of Complex Life
DNA information to be stored in a modern equivalent of Noah’s Ark.
The ambitious BioGenome Project aims to sequence and store the genomes of more than 1.5 million species.
Proposed by an international consortium of scientists, the groundbreaking endeavour will cost somewhere in the region of $4.7 billion and require 200 petabytes of digital storage capacity.
“For the first time in history, it is possible to efficiently sequence the genomes of all known species and to use genomics to help discover the remaining 80 to 90 percent of species that are currently hidden from science,” the scientists wrote in a recently published paper.
The project could prove highly beneficial in a number of different ways.
“Genomics has helped scientists develop new medicines and new sources of renewable energy, feed a growing population, protect the environment and support human survival and well-being,” said Gene Robinson from the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois.
“The Earth BioGenome Project will give us insight into the history and diversity of life and help us better understand how to conserve it.”
To date fewer than 15,000 species have been sequenced, making the proposed 1.5 million species that will be stored as part of the new project something of a daunting prospect.
The process is currently expected to take up to ten years.
Image Credit: Domenico Morelli