Books et al. Genomics

Digitizing the biosphere

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Science  29 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6238, pp. 979
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa9481

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In Biocode, Dawn Field and Neil Davies propose that to safeguard the earth's biodiversity, we should produce an exhaustive DNA sequence catalog of every organism on our planet. They argue persuasively that an "Earth Biocode" is both conceivable, because of advances in technology, and urgent, because of the impending loss of species and destabilization of our biota. Reviewer Michael Goldman questions the extent to which we can extract useful information from DNA alone, but praises the book's efforts to inspire scientists and non-scientists to play a role in understanding and planning for our planet's future.