Sequencing data: A genomic network to monitor Earth

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We propose that a network of genomic observatories should be established to take the planet's 'biological pulse'. We invite participants to assist in the shaping of this network (see

DNA sequences are becoming core components of Earth-monitoring systems, and data output is soaring from genomics and other observing technologies. But sequence data alone are of limited value without the context of time and location.

Genomic observatories would integrate genomic information with environmental, socio-ecological and other biological data. Sequencing model ecosystems would accelerate ecological understanding.

Despite reduced sequencing costs, genomic studies are still expensive to analyse and interpret, and the expense of field collection of DNA samples remains incompressible. Genomic observatories would consolidate these efforts.

These observatories must be supported by field stations, marine labs, museums, standards organizations, research networks and sequencing centres. They should be established at existing scientifically important sites.

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  1. Gump South Pacific Research Station, University of California Berkeley, Moorea, French Polynesia.

    • Neil Davies
  2. Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford; and University of Oxford, UK.

    • Dawn Field
  3. On behalf of The Genomic Observatories Network (see Supplementary Information for a list of co-authors).

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