What Truly Lies in Your Own Backyard:
In testing the technique on species collected on a hillside behind their laboratory, the authors were very surprised by what they managed to find in their own neighborhood. BGI, the world's largest genomics organization, is situated on the edge of Shenzhen, a city of 12 million people in the Pearl River delta one of the most densely urbanized regions in the world. Setting up two traps close to each not only revealed how much diversity there was, but also detected species not currently present in online databases. The findings demonstrated how little is known about insect diversity in China, and by opening up the ability to carry out these types of systematic and high-throughput analyses we should now be able to test if this is the case every where else in the world.
Of the study, Dr. Zhou said: "The 2 sampling sites were very close to each other, yet there were only around 10% of the total species being shared between them. The fact that only very few of our barcoded specimens received a sequence match from the Barcode of Life Data Systems, the world's largest barcode reference database, suggests that much of China's arthropod fauna still remains as a mystery, at least from a molecular aspect."
With the ability to detect and discover tiny organisms, stomach contents and partial samples without the usual visual cues, Dr. Zhou adds, "In some sense, the contribution of NGS technology to biodiversity research is equivalent to what microscopes did to microbiology."
To boost the transparency and usability of this new method, and in keeping with the scientific community's goals of making all data fully and freely available, all data and tools/pipelines from this project are publically available as citable entries in the GigaScience database, GigaDB. Raw data is also available as raw reads in the SRA (Accession # SRA067357).
|Contact: Scott Edmunds|