Biodiversity in crisis

Biodiversity in crisis

An estimated 25% of species are threatened with extinction worldwide due to large-scale environmental change*. Addressing this global biodiversity crisis requires an understanding of the diversity of life on Earth, how that diversity functions and interacts, and how biodiversity responds to different environmental pressures.

However, after centuries of research, an estimated 80% of the world’s multicellular species still await scientific discovery and description. Even for described species, telling them apart is often difficult, and knowledge of their distributions, variation, properties, inter-dependencies, and conservation status remain patchy and incomplete.

* (IPBES, 2019)

Two key strands of genomic science are now addressing this complex challenge:

Large-scale DNA barcoding
sequences short, standardised genomic regions to tell the world’s species apart, boosting the speed of species discovery and providing the foundations of a future global bio-surveillance system for biodiversity.

Large-scale genome sequencing
generates high-quality complete reference genomes for all species on Earth, delivering fundamental knowledge of how biological systems function and how species respond and adapt to environmental change.

The BGE Consortium aims precisely at aligning the resources and research agendas of both DNA barcoding and reference genome generation, thus opening the door for a true quantum leap in biodiversity genomics research in Europe.