The Genome 10K Project was co-founded by David Haussler, along with Steve O'Brien from the National Cancer Institute and Oliver Ryder from the Zoological Society of San Diego to assemble a genomic zoo—a collection of DNA sequences capturing the genomic diversity of 10,000 vertebrate species—as a resource for the life sciences and for worldwide conservation efforts.
The trajectory of cost reduction in DNA sequencing suggests that within a few years it will be feasible to sequence a fully representative set of more than 10,000 genomes, capturing much of the genomic diversity of vertebrate species. This would represent an unprecedented resource for the life sciences and for worldwide conservation efforts. The primary obstacle is lack of a coherent and comprehensive collection of validated tissue specimens.
In April 2009, the project launched in a two-day workshop in Santa Cruz, California. The workshop brought together scientists involved in tissue specimen collection to discuss coordination of efforts, laying the groundwork for an eventual large-scale sequencing and analysis project.
The Genome 10K Projects's growing community of leading scientists representing major zoos, museums, research centers, and universities around the world is well on its way to coordinating tissue specimens and genome sequences to build a collection of 10,000 vertebrate genomes.