Public to vote in 25 Genomes Project

The robin is one of the UK species that will have its genome sequenced as part of the 25 Genomes Project

Public to vote in 25 Genomes Project

7 Nov 2017 - 11:15

The story

  • EMBL-EBI is helping celebrate the 25th anniversary of its close collaborator, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, by participating in the 25 Genomes Project.
  • The project will sequence the genomes of 25 UK resident species and make them available to the public through Ensembl
  • The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institutes invites members of the public, including school children to vote for the final five species in a competition organised with the "I'm a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here" programme

EMBL-EBI is helping to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its neighbour and close collaborator, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, by participating in its 25 Genomes Project.

From the tiny, mighty robin to the shy brown trout, 25 of the UK’s resident species will have their genomes sequenced and the data shared with scientists everywhere. Twenty species have already been selected. Members of the public, including school children, are warmly welcomed to vote for the final five species in a competition organised with the ‘I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here’ programme.

Cast your vote

Genomes on the Genome Campus

A genome is an organism’s complete set of genetic instructions written in DNA. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build that organism and allow it to grow and develop.

The Sanger Institute was founded in 1993 by Professor Sir John Sulston as part of the Human Genome Project. Researchers at the Sanger Institute and their collaborators sequenced eight of the 23 human pairs of chromosomes in the first ‘reference’ human genome, which was published in 2003.

The genomes of many species have been sequenced since then, and hundreds of them (e.g. mouse, mosquito, wheat, wallaby) are freely available in the Ensembl ‘knowledge base’ at EMBL-EBI. Some of these genomes are pathogens involved in serious infectious diseases, like salmonella, malaria and wheat rust.

The Ensembl team will annotate (label) and store the data generated in the project, so that the knowledge is freely available to everyone. This will allow researchers around the world to understand the genetics of these species, gaining insights that can guide efforts to preserve biodiversity.

The species so far

The full list of species will be announced in December, after voting has closed. Voters can choose a species from each of five categories: Flourishing (increasing population in the UK), Floundering (endangered and declining), Dangerous (invasive and harmful), Iconic (“quintessentially British”) and Cryptic (normally out of sight, or indistinguishable from others based on looks alone).

The 25 Genomes Project is a small contribution to a much larger undertaking, in which scientists from around the world are coming together to form a plan to sequence all life on Earth. These publicly available, high-quality genomes will open the door for scientists to discover how UK species are responding to environmental pressures.

Voting is open!

Candidates: Each participating organisation has put forward a species for consideration.

Cast your vote: Visit the ‘I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here’ website and register:

Voting closes: 8 December, 2017

This project has been made possible by PacBio® long-read sequencing technology, which generates high-quality genomes for assembly. The Institute is partnering with PacBio and other leaders in the technology sector, 10x Genomics and Illumina, to create the most comprehensive view of these genomes.

Read more on the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute website


Discover more

Project partners

This project is a collaborative effort involving the Sanger Institute and many other organisations, including:  

  • Natural History Museum, London
  • The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)
  • Pacific Biosciences (PacBio)
  • The National Trust
  • The Wildlife Trust
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • Edinburgh University
  • 10x Genomics
  • Illumina
  • Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability (ACES)
  • Animal and Plant Health Agency
  • Buglife
  • Bumblebee Conservation Trust
  • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS)
  • James Hutton Institute
  • Mycorrhizal Systems Ltd
  • Natural History Museum of Geneva
  • Open Air Laboratories (OPAL)
  • Orthoptera & Allied Insects
  • Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh  
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
  • University College Dublin
  • University of Lincoln
  • Wellcome Genome Campus Grounds Team
  • Wildwood Trust 

About the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is one of the world's leading genome centres. Through its ability to conduct research at scale, it is able to engage in bold and long-term exploratory projects that are designed to influence and empower medical science globally. Institute research findings, generated through its own research programmes and through its leading role in international consortia, are being used to develop new diagnostics and treatments for human disease. To celebrate its 25th year in 2018, the Institute is sequencing 25 new genomes of species in the UK. Find out more at or follow @sangerinstitute

Image credit:

27 лютага 2014 г, Wikimedia Commons

Sanger Institute, Genome Research Ltd.

Contact the news team

Vicky Hatch | Communications Officer

Oana Stroe | Senior Communications Officer

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