Illumina Sequencing of the Black Rhino
A recent example of community sequencing can be seen here where a group of scientists used kickstarter to great effect, raising their target goal (and more!) enabling the sequence of the Black Rhino. As an endangered species the team will be looking into its genes and what can be done. Details of the project are listed below for all you geeks!
- $750Illumina library prep x 2 (400bp insert)
- $750Illumina library prep x 2 (700bp insert)
- $15,000Illumina HiSeq sequencing (PE 100 bp) x 10 lanes
$15,000 will fund the materials and operating costs to obtain the raw sequence for the black rhino. This sequence will be aligned to the existing white rhino genome that we already have access to. The findings will be shared with the public. Conservationists, biologists, historians, etc. will be able to access the sequence for free and continue this important work in the field.
About This Project
We are sequencing the genome of a beautiful black rhino. Her name is Ntombi, and she is one of only 5,055 black rhinos alive in the world. Three out of eight original subspecies have been poached to extinction and the remaining five subspecies are critically endangered. With Ntombi’s genome sequence we will be able to advance scientists’ understanding of this endangered species that has played a critical role in our ecosystem for over 50 million years.
Ask the Scientists
What is the context of this research?
Scientists have yet to sequence the black rhino genome. Because of advances in sequencing technology, the costs for sequencing have dropped dramatically. Having the black rhino genome will allow conservationists to gain insight into the dynamics of this endangered species.
Genome sequencing is already being used to combat the loss of biodiversity. Scientists have used the same methods for conservation efforts around the Crested Ibis bird and Northern White Rhino.
With the genome of the black rhino we will be able to answer the following questions. How did the black rhino evolve into a subspecies? What loci in the black rhino genome show a susceptibility to disease?
What is the significance of this project?
Sequencing the black rhino genome is just the first step. The data from this project will be used to create a biobank of genomic data for the remaining 8 subspecies of black rhino. Three are already extinct. We intend to use this project as a catalyst to sequence all subspecies of black rhino and understand the genetic divergence within and between rhino species.
This will be a foundation that future researcher can utilize and could possibly help bring the three currently extinct black rhinoceros subspecies back into existence.
What are the goals of the project?
The first step is to obtain a raw sequence for the black rhino and align the sequence to the existing southern white rhino genome. The second step is to produce a fully annotated version of the black rhino genome.
The data produced from this project will be open access and we intend to publish the findings in a peer reviewed journal.