Biodiversity databases

nature_reserveI know sometimes I joke about “another day, another genome” as it seems like we can check off another genome daily.  And as the next-gen technology spreads further that’s going to be even more common.  It’s gotten me thinking a lot about which species ought to be done.  And how will sequencing research teams choose?

The folks at the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog have me intrigued on a bunch of resources that are not the ones that most bioinformatics folks in my sphere have focused on.  I mean, I know why we focus so much effort on model organisms and the big food species like at Gramene and PlantGDB, and I support that.  But when you start thinking about the other organisms that we rely on so much–in the big agriculture way and the small agriculture way–I think we need to bring those animals and plants into the herd :)  And we can soon.

Their recent post Linking up livestock databases was the one that prompted this post.  But they write a lot of things I like (especially about plant genetic resources) and really have me wondering and reading, and thinking about how to raise awareness on the other valuable species.

The livestock post pointed to several nice resources that I was unaware of before.  In an article by Eildert Groeneveld in the Globaldiv Newsletter the focus in animals, and he offers several nice links. Check out the diverse sheep at the Heritage Sheep Breeds web site.  Check out the species in the Central Documentation for Animal Biological Diversity in Germany here.  Or the breed data collection at Oklahoma State–have you ever seen goats like those Alti Mountain goats?  Wowsa.    How about the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System or DAD-IS?  There are other great links as well in the newsletter–check ‘em out.  Another thrust of the article is linking up individual data with breed data via the EFABIS project as well to enhance the knowledge, and you can learn more about that in the newsletter.

Anyway, there are some really fascinating variations here.  Understanding them would be a great project for folks with a next-gen sequencer waiting for input.   Have a look.  And celebrate rare breeds.  We are going to need them in times of climate change.