I realize that there are many isolated efforts to sequence the genome of a particular endangered species such as the orangutan or the snow leopard. However is there a concerted effort to sequence the genomes of every species on the brink of extinction? Also, is there an effort to sequence the genetic diversity of the surviving populations, since it would be very difficult to re-create alleles that would be needed if the species were to ever be resurrected.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Not an answer but I remember watching a documentary about a huge, international, "seed bank" containing cells from various species. So, not their genomes as such but the species themselves. I'll see if I can find a reference. $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ It seems like genomes are more valuable than spaceships. $\endgroup$
    – Dale
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ It doesn't seem like there's a crowd-funded solution. That might be something to look into if you're interested. $\endgroup$
    – user228546
    Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


The seedbank terdon mentions is the Norwegian Svalbard Global Seed Vault located at Spitsbergen island:


However, the closest thing to a concerted initiative for sequencing animals I know of is the Genome 10K project:


Their list of first 101 vertebrata proposed for sequencing contains 29 species with status RED from the red list. Most of them are only proposed, but the sequencing of the following are already in progress:

  • crested ibis (Nipponia nippon)
  • Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica)
  • cheetah (Acynonyx jubatus)
  • lion (Panthera leo)
  • domestic yak (Bos grunniens)
  • bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus)

and that of the Chinese softshell turtle (Trionyx sinensis) has funding secured. Already complete are the giant panda, the chiru, and the polar bear.

And some surprising fact: where the funding is secured it is/was funded by the Beijing Genome Institute. A shame if this would remain the only one.


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