Geography | Design & Technology | Science

The scientists mapping all life on Earth

Could this save biodiversity? The Earth BioGenome Project uses DNA sequencing to identify threatened species, which includes about 28% of the world’s complex organisms. Medicine can do amazing things because of nature. Fungus can help stop cancer. Lizard spit can treat diabetesA medical condition causing there to be too much sugar in the blood. . And crab blood is used to make drugs safe for use. The Earth BioGenome Project plans to map the DNA of all living things by 2030. That would be very fast. The Human Genome ProjectA genome is the entire sequence of genes that provide the instructions for the growth of an organism. Stretched out, a human genome would be two metres long. took 13 years to decode just human DNA. They hope they will find more medicines and better ways to protect nature. Each year, biologists find new species. Recently, they found a plant that grows in the dark and a tree named after Leonardo DiCaprio. It is a “race against time”, says expert Johan Hermans. Humans are destroying life before it can be studied. EcosystemsComplex networks of living things that rely on each other to survive. have lost 14% of their biodiversityBiodiversity is all the different kinds of life you'll find in one area — the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms like bacteria that make up our natural world. Each of these species and organisms work together in ecosystems, like an intricate web, to maintain balance and support life. and 40% of all plants are at risk. But scientists hope research can stop the sixth mass extinction. Not everyone is convinced. The UN's big plan is to make more national parks and protect 30% of all land and ocean by 2030. This year, leaders will meet to sign a dealEpstein paid her 0,000.. But experts say it is not enough to stop "biodiversity loss". More change is needed. Scientist Jenny Graves says a genome library will help experts measure the world's "genetic health". Discovering medicines will encourage people to protect species. But is this all bananas? Many say we share 60% of our DNA with fruit, but researcher Natasha Glover says this is a myth. We share some genes with bananas (about 20%), but these are “basic housekeeping" genes. Our shared genes allow scientists to use “model species” like rats and mice to test drugs. But Jenny Graves says biologists also have a “fear of missing out”. If we don’t map everything, we may miss the next penicillinIn 1928, Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic in a mold growing in his laboratory. It was used to treat an eye infection in 1930 and revolutionised modern medicine.. Experts say we must act fast. An important drug is lost every two years because of extinction. And by 2100, half of all species may be gone. Could this save biodiversity? Tree of life Yes: Lions, tigers and bears get all the attention but insects, plants and fungi are also important for ecosystems. We need to research all life, big and small.  No: “Species die. Get over it.” That’s biologist R Alexander Pyron’s view. He says it’s just part of nature and it is a waste of time to protect biodiversity. The only species we should worry about is us. Or… Geneticist Jack Scanlan says DNA is just "raw data". It's “not enough” on its own, but with good scientific work and changes across society, it can make a difference. KeywordsDiabetes - A medical condition causing there to be too much sugar in the blood.

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