The Wellcome Sanger Institute is among 10 organisations that are part of a project to map genomes of all known life on the British Isles.
The first phase of the Darwin Tree of Life Project, which kicks off in November, will be to collect and barcode around 8,000 key British species and deliver genomes of 2,000 species, ranging from animals, plants, fungi and protists.
The consortium of 10 institutions aims to map the genetic code of 60,000 species on the British Isles and share it as publicly-available data for research purposes.
Michael Dunn, Head of genetics and molecular sciences at Wellcome, said: “The mission to sequence all life on the British Isles is ambitious, but by bringing together this diverse group of organisations with expertise in sample collection, DNA sequencing and data processing we believe that we have the right team to achieve this.
“We’ll gain new insights into nature that will help develop new treatments for infectious diseases, identify drugs to slow ageing, generate new approaches to feeding the world or create new bio materials.”
Wellcome is funding £9.4 million for the project, which will also involve researchers from Earlham Institute, the Natural History Museum and the Marine Biological Association.
The project acts as a first step in ultimately sequencing all species on Earth.