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

Heather Bracken-Grissom, Allen G. Collins, Timothy Collins, Keith Crandall, Daniel Distel, Casey Dunn, Gonzalo Giribet, Steven Haddock, Nancy Knowlton, Mark Martindale, Monica Medina, Charles Messing, Stephen J. O'Brien, Gustav Paulay, Nicolas Putnam, Timothy Ravasi, Greg W. Rouse, Joseph F. Ryan, Anja Schulze, Gert WorheideMaja Adamska, Xavier Bailly, Jesse Breinholt, William E. Browne, M. Christina Diaz, Nathaniel Evans, Jean-Francois Flot, Nicole Fogarty, Matthew Johnston, Bishoy Kamel, Akito Y. Kawahara, Tammy Laberge, Dennis Lavrov, Francois Michonneau, Leonid L. Moroz, Todd Oakley, Karen Osborne, Shirley A. Pomponi, Adelaide Rhodes, Mauricio Rodriguez-Lanetty, Scott R. Santos, Nori Satoh, Robert W. Thacker, Yves Van de Peer, Christian R. Voolstra, David Mark Welch, Judith Winston, Xin Zhou

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    68 Scopus citations


    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.
    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1-18
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Heredity
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Dec 11 2013

    Bibliographical note

    KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
    Acknowledgements: American Genetic Association with a Special Event Award that provided the primary funding for the maiden GIGA workshop; Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics (Russia Ministry of Science Mega grant 11.G34.31.0068 to S.J. O'Brien, Principal Investigator); Life Technologies and BioNanoGenomics; National Science Foundation's "Assembling the Tree of Life" (DEB awards 0732903, 0829763, 0829783, 0829791, 0829986).


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