An introduction to the Global Genome Initiative from its Director, Jonathan A. Coddington.
Preserving and Understanding the Genomic Diversity of Life on Earth. This is a monumental mission statement. Some might even say impossible. But we here at the Global Genome Initiative (GGI) believe that there has never been a better time to undertake an enterprise of this magnitude.
The Global Genome Initiative, a component of the Smithsonian Institute for Biodiversity Genomics, is sending scientists and research teams to all corners of globe with a very specific mission: to collect, sequence, preserve, understand, and share the molecular makeup of every species on Earth. While GGI is housed at the Smithsonian, we are a growing collaboration among institutions from around the globe that share GGI goals.
The genome is an organism’s instruction manual, the complete set of DNA and all of its genes. By exploring and preserving genomic material, scientists will be able to unravel the mysteries of the world around us. Extinction continues to threaten species all around the globe, often before we even know they exist, genomics research allows us to find, protect, and preserve these species. We have so much to learn from this research:
What are the basic kinds of organisms with which we share this planet?
How do organisms adapt to changes in their environment, and how can we use genomics to measure and respond effectively to environmental change?
Can we develop technologies to make identification of organisms more accessible to more people?
Answering questions like these can spur innovation in agriculture, help with the development of new medicines, and guide us down the path of sustainability and cutting edge technological advancement in nearly every facet of our lives.
We like to think big, and we believe that GGI is laying a foundation for a new and exciting era of scientific research. As our research teams return from the field, and as exciting news in biodiversity genomics breaks, we will be sharing stories, pictures, and video with you, in the hopes that viewers can follow along with our expeditions, and discover the importance of this research.
Follow along with the hashtag #SmithsonianGGI to join the conversation!