Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Articles

The Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance (GIGA): Developing Community Resources to Study Diverse Invertebrate Genomes


Jose V. Lopez, University of North FloridaFollow
Heather Bracken-Grissom, Florida International University
Allen G. Collins, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Timothy Collins, Florida International University
Keith Crandall, The George Washington University
Daniel Distel, Ocean Genome Legacy
Casey Dunn, Brown University
Gonzalo Giribet, Harvard University
Steven Haddock, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Mark Martindale, University of Florida
Mónica Medina, Pennsylvania State University
Charles Messing, Nova Southeastern UniversityFollow
Stephen J. O'Brien, Nova Southeastern UniversityFollow
Gustav Paulay, Florida Museum of Natural History
Nicolas Putnam, Rice University
Timothy Ravasi, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Greg W. Rouse, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Joseph F. Ryan, Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology
Anja Schulze, Texas A and M University at Galveston
Gert Wörheide, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Maja Adamska, Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology
Xavier Bailly, Roscoff Marine Lab
Jesse Breinholt, Florida Museum of Natural History
William E. Browne, University of Miami
M. Christina Diaz, Nova Southeastern University
Nathaniel Evans, Florida Museum of Natural History
Jean François Flot, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization
Nicole Fogarty, Nova Southeastern University
Matthew Johnston, Nova Southeastern UniversityFollow
Bishoy Kamel, UC Merced


0000-0002-1637-4125; 0000-0001-7353-8301


F-8809-2011; N-1726-2015

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Publication Title

Journal of Heredity



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biodiversity, comparative genomics, consortium, evolution, GIGA, invertebrates, metazoa


Over 95% of all metazoan (animal) species comprise the "invertebrates, " but very few genomes from these organisms have been sequenced. We have, therefore, formed a "Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance" (GIGA). Our intent is to build a collaborative network of diverse scientists to tackle major challenges (e.g., species selection, sample collection and storage, sequence assembly, annotation, analytical tools) associated with genome/transcriptome sequencing across a large taxonomic spectrum. We aim to promote standards that will facilitate comparative approaches to invertebrate genomics and collaborations across the international scientific community. Candidate study taxa include species from Porifera, Ctenophora, Cnidaria, Placozoa, Mollusca, Arthropoda, Echinodermata, Annelida, Bryozoa, and Platyhelminthes, among others. GIGA will target 7000 noninsect/nonnematode species, with an emphasis on marine taxa because of the unrivaled phyletic diversity in the oceans. Priorities for selecting invertebrates for sequencing will include, but are not restricted to, their phylogenetic placement; relevance to organismal, ecological, and conservation research; and their importance to fisheries and human health. We highlight benefits of sequencing both whole genomes (DNA) and transcriptomes and also suggest policies for genomic-level data access and sharing based on transparency and inclusiveness. The GIGA Web site ( has been launched to facilitate this collaborative venture. © 2013 The American Genetic Association 2013. All rights reserved.







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