• Question: What would you accomplish by doing this?

    Asked by 16hennegancave to Asian Hornet, Daubenton's bat, Giant Hogweed, Leathery Sea Squirt, Lion's Mane Jellyfish, Oak Apple Gallwasp, Turkey Oak on 13 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Oak Apple Gallwasp

      Oak Apple Gallwasp answered on 13 Nov 2017:

      I would like to try to find which genes gallwasps use to cause trees to MAKE weird and wonderful galls. Seriously, some of the galls are as different form normal oak tree leaves as a strawberry would be, and whatever the gall wasps are doing is amazing.

      One of the most important tools in finding the genes involved is a genome for the gallwasps. If we can find which genes are important, we can also work out how to STOP gallwasps from causing galls. This would be very useful in reducing the damage caused by gall wasp pests. There are only a few of these, but one type can kill chestnut trees, because it causes so many galls that the tree’s sap cannot flow.

    • Photo: Lion's Mane Jellyfish

      Lion's Mane Jellyfish answered on 13 Nov 2017:

      Hopefully the genome can help us find a way to control their population levels, by studying their development and reproduction. Once an invasive or overpopulating species takes a foothold they are really difficult to stop!

      The genome could also help us understand how the Lion’s Mane produces and delivers its venom – which might help create anti-venoms or other useful medicines.

      Jellyfish also have a very different nervous system to us – so they have been used to help us understand the evolution of nervous systems. Knowing which genes control the development of their nervous system could be really useful!

    • Photo: Daubenton's Bat

      Daubenton's Bat answered on 13 Nov 2017:

      The aim is to ultimately understand just what it is that makes bats special in terms of their immune system and their response to infection. This could have implications for how we treat disease in humans and even the ageing process!

    • Photo: Turkey Oak

      Turkey Oak answered on 14 Nov 2017:

      Having ath Turkey Oak genome available would provide the foundation to study the biology and evolution of the species. Oaks are interesting because they are long lived (some upto a 100 years) and the genome sequence would allow one to identify genes essential for the adaptation of oaks to their environment, and genes involved in the symbiotic relationships between the mycelia of truffles and its root. In addition, oaks are used to make barrels that contain whiskey and wine. One could study the genes responsible for the biosynthesis of wood extractives such as tannins and whisky-lactone that gives their flavor and taste to alcohol and wine.

    • Photo: Giant Hogweed

      Giant Hogweed answered on 14 Nov 2017:

      I would be very keen to know how the toxins are produced and what applications they can have in clean and sustainable agriculture. Also, a super curious fact of the giant hogweed is – how does it spread everywhere, why is it so invasive, does it have some secrets? Maybe after the sequencing is done, we can hope to find out the reason for it’s success and maybe we can finally do something to control it! I think this is a very important issue from the point of having healthy ecosystems where native plant species can thrive, and that they don’t die out in the presence of the giant hogweed.

    • Photo: Asian Hornet

      Asian Hornet answered on 14 Nov 2017:

      The genome would represent a first step in answering lots of difficult questions about what makes the Asian hornet such a successful invader and what we can do about it. The first accomplishment would be a publication to tell the scientific world and the general public how the Asian hornet genome is unique. Then the hard work would begin to start to study in detail individual genes regulating the development and behaviour of the Asian hornet. These accomplishments would happen over many years. See our other answer for more details!

      Also, why not become a scientist and join us!

    • Photo: Leathery Sea Squirt

      Leathery Sea Squirt answered on 18 Nov 2017:

      The sea squirt genome could tell us some interesting things…

      Sea squirts are a very successful invasive species who are growing in number in delicate shallow water ecosystems all around the world. However, there should be changes to the DNA of sea squirts in different areas which follow a predictable pattern as we reproduce. The thing is, changes in sea squirt DNA which have been found so far are not what scientists would expect for the way they think we multiply, so by sequencing our genome it might be possible to understand our movement around the world a bit better.

      As we pose a threat to other marine animals, sequencing the sea squirt genome could also be useful for finding ways to control the population and stopping us taking over from other animals. So far, finding a way to get rid of us without damaging other species has been really tough. Some people have tried lowering cages full of crabs over sea squirt colonies, but even that hasn’t been very successful!

      Sea squirts are also pretty interesting because although they start life as a vertebrate animal with an eye and a brain, once they become adults they loose those features, and become more like sponges or corals. That’s really interesting because very few animals get more simple as when they become adults (I certainly can’t think of many species where adults are brainless and children aren’t, can you???). If we can understand how this process works by sequencing the sea squirt genome, it might tell us some really interesting things about the reverse process – how other animals develop their brains.