Bracken-Grissom, Heather, Collins, Allen Gilbert, Collins, Timothy, Crandall, Keith, Distel, Daniel, Dunn, Casey, Giribet, Gonzalo, Haddock, Steven, Knowlton, Nancy, Martindale, Mark, Medina, Monica, Messing, Charles, O'Brien, Stephen J., Paulay, Gustav, Putnam, Nicolas, Ravasi, Timothy, Rouse, Greg W., Ryan, Joseph F., Schulze, Anja, Worheide, Gert, Adamska, Maja, Bailly, Xavier, Breinholt, Jesse, Browne, William E., Diaz, M. Christina, et al
Over 95% of all metazoan (animal) species comprise the invertebrates, but very few genomes from these organisms have been sequenced. We have, therefore, formed a Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance (GIGA). Our intent is to build a collaborative network of diverse scientists to tackle major challenges (e.g., species selection, sample collection and storage, sequence assembly, annotation, analytical tools) associated with genome/transcriptome sequencing across a large taxonomic spectrum. We aim to promote standards that will facilitate comparative approaches to invertebrate genomics and collaborations across the international scientific community. Candidate study taxa include species from Porifera, Ctenophora, Cnidaria, Placozoa, Mollusca, Arthropoda, Echinodermata, Annelida, Bryozoa, and Platyhelminthes, among others. GIGA will target 7000 noninsect/nonnematode species, with an emphasis on marine taxa because of the unrivaled phyletic diversity in the oceans. Priorities for selecting invertebrates for sequencing will include, but are not restricted to, their phylogenetic placement; relevance to organismal, ecological, and conservation research; and their importance to fisheries and human health. We highlight benefits of sequencing both whole genomes (DNA) and transcriptomes and also suggest policies for genomic-level data access and sharing based on transparency and inclusiveness. The GIGA Web site () has been launched to facilitate this collaborative venture.