A Genomic Observatories Network
How does genomic biodiversity contribute to evolutionary potential, ecological resilience and human well-being?
A new publication by my colleagues and I outlines the mission of the Genomic Observatories Network (GOs Network; http://www.genomicobservatories.org/). The GOs network aims to create a global network of premier research sites working to generate genomic biodiversity observations. They are located around the globe in areas with a rich history of environmental/ecological data collection and a long-term commitment. A Genomic Observatory is defined in our paper as "an ecosystem and/or site subject to long-term scientific research, including (but not limited to) the sustained study of genomic biodiversity from single-celled microbes to multicellular organisms."
The GOs Network aims to observe DNA sequences -- the “biocode” -- across the principal levels of biological organization (cell, organism, ecosystem). GOs will inventory genomic biodiversity and map its distribution over time and space. To understand the processes that generate and maintain this diversity, GOs will link the genomic information to physico-chemical, ecological, and socioeconomic data, and will work with others to build models of how genomic biodiversity contributes to ecosystem services, evolutionary potential, and ecological resilience.
Genomic Observatories is one focus of our working group on genetic diversity, within the global Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON). I co-lead this working group with Tet Yahara of Kyushu University. Working group members Dawn Field and Neil Davies have lead much of the development of Genomic Observatories.
In our paper, the 69 founding co-authors state their intention to work together to launch the GOs Network. Hopefully, our paper will promote broad community participation in this collaborative effort.
Neil Davies et al. (2014) The founding charter of the Genomic Observatories Network. GigaScience, 3:2 doi:10.1186/2047-217X-3-2. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.05.042
Dr Dan Faith , Principal Research Scientist