[Coral-List] coral genome sequencing project

Cheryl Woodley Cheryl.Woodley at noaa.gov
Fri Sep 19 18:13:16 EDT 2003

Dear Coral List Members,

First, I’d like to say that the postings have been worthwhile,
informative, and have provided very valid points on alternative
species.  I am encouraged to see such an interest in coral genomics.  I
also appreciate Tonya Shearer commenting on her sequencing experience
that can influence logistics considerably.

I think that the discussions have also served to point out that those of
us immersed in genomics everyday need to better convey the power and
potential of the technologies (to which we’ve become so accustomed) to
researchers in other scientific disciplines as well as being able to
articulate the applications that become possible from this type of
endeavor to managers and policy makers.   I appreciate Mike Matz
summarizing a few of the many benefits of having this resource ( I would
even add benefits to fields such as comparative- immunology,-
physiology, -biochemistry and providing the means to develop new
tools/technologies such as diagnostics and field dipstick technologies).

However, in regard to the effort being made to have a coral genome
sequenced, I am concerned that we may have lost sight of the real goal:
that is to generate vital coral genome sequence data and make it widely
available to the research community via the public domain.

We have a window of opportunity right now to respond as a research
community to say that, yes, a coral genome needs to be sequenced and we
as a coral research community will use these resources to move the field
of coral research and conservation management forward.  This window will
close October 9, 2003.

Dr. Gary Ostrander and the other collaborators have worked to put
together a proposal to have a coral genome sequenced and are simply
asking for support of their proposal from the coral community to go
forward to NHGRI, the National Human Genome Research Institute.
Currently there are 20 fully sequenced eukaryotic genomes with dozens
more under development.  Passing up the opportunity to add a coral
genome to the list at this point, would only serve to leave the coral
research community behind the times, in the future.

In all, this is a very important effort and meets a major mandate of the
Coral Disease and Health Consortium’s National Research Plan.  The
completion of a genomic sequence will have many positive effects on the
field of coral research and others, many of which cannot be foreseen
today.  So please let’s pull together in support of this effort that we
all will benefit from either directly, by those involved in genomics and
proteomics work, or indirectly, by building on the discoveries made from
this unique resource.

Cheryl Woodley
Chair, Coral Disease and Health Consortium

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