Meet the species!

25 Genomes: Mapping Nature’s Code

Schools from around the world are taking part in 25 Genomes

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is one of the world’s leading genomics research centres. It was the UK home for the Human Genome Project – which revealed the entire DNA code of life.

In celebration of its 25th Anniversary, the Institute is going to decode the DNA of 25 UK species for the first time…and you can vote to decide 5 of them!

From 6th November – 8th December, a team of scientists and wildlife experts will each champion a species they think should have its entire DNA sequence decoded, competing for votes from students and the general public.

For the latest news and announcements about the event, find us on Twitter, @imascientist, and follow the hashtag, #25Genomes.

Let’s meet the species taking part…


Cryptic Zone

Cryptic species are those that are other than they appear. They might mimic the behaviour of other species to avoid detection by their prey, or use camouflage to blend into their surroundings. Cryptic species might also have hidden differences, whilst seemingly looking the same.

The Species


Twisted-wing fly | Championed by Andrew Polaszek and team

‘Boys and girls look very different! Males look similar to a free-living fly, while females are parasites that look like a maggot.’



Snake pipefish | Championed by Ines Goncalves

‘I’m an excellent father! I attach my babies to my belly and take care of them while they develop,’



Scottish Crossbill | Championed by Stuart Piertney

‘I’m the only bird species (actually the only vertebrate) that’s found in the UK and nowhere else!’




Orkney Vole | Championed by Kevin O’Dell

‘Compare our genome with that of our Belgian cousins and you’ll reveal many secrets about how animals adapt to harsh environments.’




Naval Shipworm | Championed by Nathan Kenny

‘Instead of hiding inside my shell, I actually use it for tunnelling into wood.’



Common Starfish | Championed by Maurice Elphick and team


‘I will help scientists discover how I lose and re-grow my arms, am strong enough to open mussels and can do all this without a brain.’




Brachiopod | Championed by Peter Balfe

‘I am a completely unique relic species, and share ancestors with most shellfish.’




Baltic Clam | Championed by Suzanne Williams and team

‘If poo from crabs that have eaten Baltic clams is placed near other Baltic clams, they will burrow more deeply to avoid being eaten!’




Abyssal Grenadier | Championed by Heather Ritchie and team

‘I am constantly swimming, hoping that I will stumble across the smell of something dead that has sunk to the bottom of the sea.’



The Schools

  • Abingdon School
  • Alford Academy
  • Broadoak Mathematics and Computing College
  • Central College Nottingham
  • Clarkstown High School North
  • Colchester County High School for Girls
  • Corpus Christi Catholic High School
  • Didcot Girls’ School
  • Eastwood High School
  • Eureka Secondary School
  • Flegg High School
  • Gosforth Academy
  • Herne Bay High School
  • Kings’ School
  • Musselburgh Grammar School
  • Okehampton College
  • Penrice Academy
  • Redborne Upper School and Community College
  • Springside Primary School
  • St Dominic’s High School, Belfast
  • St James’ Church of England Primary Academy
  • St Joseph’s College
  • St. Mary’s C.B.S.
  • Sussex Downs College
  • The Brittons Academy Trust
  • The Cheadle Academy
  • The FitzWimarc School
  • Waingels College
  • Warrington Collegiate

Dangerous Zone

Some species are invasive and harmful. They could spread disease, prey on smaller organisms or contribute to the declining population of another organism by competing for food.

The Species


Turkey Oak | Championed by Mark Winfield

‘A family of large and impressive trees; some of my cousins were used to make Viking longships ships.’




Oak Apple Gallwasp | Championed by Graham Stone and Mark Blaxter

‘I can make an oak tree grow completely new parts that feed, house and protect me from harm.’




Lion’s Mane Jellyfish | Championed by Zak Mitchell and Alex Evans

‘I have venomous stingers, so it’s probably best to avoid hugging me!’




Leathery Sea Squirt | Championed by Claire Shooter

‘I’m a like a mighty viking in sea squirt form!’




Giant Hogweed | Championed by Sakshi Sharda

‘I’m Britains most toxic plant, but my genome holds secrets to how my toxins can be used to prevent pests to produce more food for the world.’




Daubenton’s Bat | Championed by Lisa Worledge

‘I can fly like a hovercraft close the surface of the water gaffing insects with my big hairy feet!’




Asian Hornet | Championed by Seirian Summer and team

‘Your poor European honeybees are rather pathetic at fighting us, I have to say.’



The Schools

  • Alexandra Park School
  • Beechen Cliff School
  • Blackrock College
  • Cawthorne Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School
  • Chryston High School
  • Colin Powell Middle School
  • Douglas Community School
  • Dunblane High School
  • Ernesford Grange Community Academy
  • Gildredge House
  • Irchester Community Primary School
  • Jamiatul Ummah School
  • King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls
  • Lagan College
  • Lochgilphead High School
  • Parmiter’s School
  • Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School
  • Sheringham High School
  • St Andrew’s Secondary School
  • St Mark’s CofE Primary School
  • St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Morecambe
  • St Mary’s School for Girls
  • Sycamore Elementary School
  • The Highfield School
  • Thomas Alleyne’s High School
  • Trinity Church of England School, Belvedere


Floundering Zone

Due to factors like climate change and destruction of natural habitats, many UK species are becoming endangered. In this zone you’ll meet organisms whose populations are declining. By sequencing their genome we could work out why and potentially save them from disappearing forever.

The Species


Strapwort | Championed by Anne Visscher

‘I am critically endangered in the UK, only surviving on the shore of Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve in South Devon’




Spotted Flycatcher | Championed by Emma Cole

‘I have feathers which resemble bristles on my bill, to reduce the likelihood of flies escaping me!’




Scottish Wildcat | Championed by Tony Travis and team

‘I’m Britain’s only remaining large wild predator and I’ve walked this land for millions of years.’




Scaly Cricket | Championed by Karim Vahed

‘I lay my eggs in drift-wood, so it is possible that they could “raft” across the sea to colonise new areas.’




Lundy Cabbage | Championed by Fred Rumsey

‘I only exist on a few cliffs on one small island, Lundy, off the Devon coast where I am home to a little beetle that also lives nowhere else on the planet.’




Glow Worm | Championed by Robin Scagell and John Tyler

‘I can eat a snail perhaps a hundred times my own weight (that’s about the same as a human eating an elephant).’




European Flat Oyster | Championed by Ross Houston and team

‘I can be male or female, depending on the temperature.’




Eurasian Otter | Championed by Frank Hailer

‘We communicate via poo! ‘




Barbastelle Bat | Championed by Orly Razgour and Matt Zeale

‘The shape of my wings allows me to fly like an aerobatic stunt plane.’



The Schools

  • Adcote School for Girls
  • Baltasound Junior High School
  • Croydon High School
  • Ditton Park Academy
  • Eastwood High School
  • Edison Intermediate Larson Middle School
  • Etonbury Academy
  • Fulham Cross Girls’ School and Language College
  • Gillespie Primary School
  • Glenstal Abbey School
  • Islamia Primary School
  • Kingsmead Academy
  • Kiveton Park Meadows Junior School
  • Loughborough Grammar School
  • Newham College of Further Education
  • Oldham Hulme Grammar
  • Parklands High School
  • Perth Academy
  • Prendergast Vale School
  • Richard Taylor Church of England Primary School
  • Sandwick Junior High School
  • Silverdale School
  • Simon Balle All-Through School
  • Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School
  • St Andrews College
  • Stanborough School
  • State High School Ischia
  • Uffculme School
  • Vestal Middle School

Flourishing Zone

The species in this zone are on the up; finding out how they’re so successful might help other species to survive. Some of these species survive in extreme conditions, others have previously been endangered but now are doing well and some have been brought over to the UK where they are now taking over!

The Species


Tree Lichen | Championed by Derek Pickard

‘We are one of the few life forms that could survive and thrive in a Martian atmosphere with its extreme of temperatrures, ultra-violet radiation and lack of water! ‘




Small Red-eyed Damselfly | Championed by Dominique Von Schiller

‘I am incredibly pretty and my presence will cheer your summer walks.’




Pill Millipede | Championed by Rachel Clark

‘Cute, rolling bulldozers’




Cyanobacterium | Championed by Anne Jungblut

‘We can grow in big slimy green colonies.’




Beaver | Championed by Michael Rivera

‘My beaver genome will help us learn about which genes determine cleverness in beavers.’




Fen Raft Spider | Championed by Sara Goodacre

‘I ‘talk’ to other members of my species by drumming on the surface of the water.’




Danish Scurvygrass | Championed by Gaurab Mukherjee

‘I get my name because I am rich in vitamin C, and sailors used to eat me to ward off scurvy.’




Cirl Bunting | Championed by Jamie Dunning

‘Was it a genetic quirk that brought Cirl Bunting here?’




Canada Goose | Championed by Selina Pearson

‘The British Trust for Ornithology describes us as “amongst the most inedible of birds”.’



The Schools

  • Alexandra Junior School
  • Barr Beacon School
  • Breadalbane Academy
  • Burford School
  • City Academy Norwich
  • Down High School
  • Helena Romanes School and Sixth Form Centre
  • Holy Cross School
  • John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School
  • Lesmahagow High School
  • Loreto Grammar School
  • Lymm High School
  • Marylebone Boys’ School
  • Morgan Academy
  • Rye St Antony
  • Sawtry Community College Academy
  • St Leonards School
  • St Wilfrid’s Church of England Academy
  • The Elton High School
  • Tynecastle High School
  • Warrington & Vale Royal College
  • Watford Grammar School for Boys
  • Weston College
  • Wilmington Academy
  • Wyedean School and 6th Form Centre

Iconic Zone

The UK is home to many organisms that are recognisable to all. Sequencing the genome of an iconic species such as these would be great for public outreach and engagement in science. It’s also a chance for us to help make sure we continue to support well-loved species from becoming extinct, like the endangered hazel dormouse.

The Species


St Kilda Wren | Championed by Anthony Caravaggi

‘Despite being one of the smallest birds in the UK, I have a very powerful voice.’




Scotch Thistle | Championed by Miranda Bane and team

‘I am a very tough plant so not much threatens me…except a scary human with a chemical spray!’




Hazel Dormouse | Championed by Bushra Abu-Helil

‘I am not even a mouse; more accurately a tiny squirrel.’




Emperor Dragonfly | Championed by Richard Badge

‘I can fly in any direction, hover and flip – millions of years before those pesky drones!’




Common Crane | Championed by Andrii Iudin

‘We care deeply about our children and do not fly ourselves until they have learned how to do it.’




Lesser-Spotted Catshark | Championed by Kyle Martin

‘Even the tiniest of electrical current produced by a beating heart can be enough for our sense of electroreception to give away the prey’s location.’




Brown Garden Snail | Championed by Angus Davison

‘Some snails stab love-darts into each other when mating.’




Barn Owl | Championed by Nicole Soranzo

‘Barn Owls screech – they never hoot (that’s Tawny Owls).’



The Schools

  • Bishop Challoner Catholic College
  • Broadgreen International School, A Technology College
  • Carrick Academy
  • Castlebrook High School
  • Church Stretton School
  • City College Plymouth
  • Colton Hills Community School
  • Ercall Wood Technology College
  • Fairfield Primary School
  • Great Yarmouth Charter Academy
  • Gresham’s School
  • Hammersmith Academy
  • Harlaw Academy
  • International school of toulouse
  • Inver College
  • Kent College (Canterbury)
  • Kilkeel High School
  • Leigh Academy Dartford
  • MidKent College
  • Presentation / De La Salle College
  • Saint Thomas More Language College
  • Sevilla International College San Francisco de Paula
  • Shavington Academy
  • Sidmouth Primary School
  • Smithdon High School
  • South Auckland Middle School
  • St Bartholomew’s School
  • St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Primary School, Thornaby
  • Sullivan Upper School, Prep Dept


Which species deserves to be sequenced?
Have your say from the 6th November

Posted on November 1, 2017 by in News. Leave a comment

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