Earth BioGenome Project Hong Kong (EBPHK) Public Talk

Wenyan Nong1, Wai Lok So1, Sean Tse Sum Law1, Tsz Kiu Chong1, Jerome Ho Lam Hui1

1. School of Life Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China


Understanding the biodiversity on Earth is more than just scientific interests, as it can also inform how to maximise the utilisation of its resources in a sustainable way. This is both scientifically and socially important. In terms of science, it will allow better fundamental understanding of the evolution and interactions of organisms on earth, and socially, it will allow new applications development as well as using the resources in a sustainable way.

The Earth BioGenome Project, which has been described as a moonshot project for biology, aims to sequence, catalogue, and analyse the genomes of all eukaryotes on Earth, including animals, fungi, and plants. Similar initiatives have already started in different parts of the world, including the Darwin Tree of Life Project in the United Kingdom, which aims to sequence all eukaryotes in the country in the first phase.

Funded by the Hong Kong Research Grant Council Collaborative Research Fund, researchers from all publicly funded universities in Hong Kong is now establishing the Hong Kong’s biodiversity genomic research hub.

In this talk, using real examples obtained in this project, we will introduce to public the benefits of how revealing the genomes from Hong Kong animals and plants, including understanding how biodiversity is evolved, discovering of hidden biological knowledge for new technological inventions and development, raising the awareness of public via citizen science, and conservation of endangered species. (This work was supported by the Hong Kong Research Grant Council Collaborative Research Fund C4015-EF).