Meeting: Catalysis Meeting

Paths to Cephalopod Genomics- Strategies, Choices, Organization

Date24-May-2012 ~ 27-May-2012
ProjectPaths to Cephalopod Genomics- Strategies, Choices, Organization
SummaryCephalopods (octopuses, squids, cuttlefish, Nautilus) form one of the three largest classes of Mollusca and date from at least the Late Cambrian. They have attracted great interest from comparative and evolutionary biologists for many reasons, including their success as predators, their ability to change color in milliseconds, their large brains and their camera-like eyes. Cephalopod researchers work on a wide range of species, such as the Humbolt squid for giant axon neurophysiology, the bobtail squid for animal-bacterial symbiosis, octopus for systems neurobiology, and cuttlefish for adaptive coloration studies. Because of this diversity in species choice, and the absence of a genetic model system, there has been no undertaking to produce a cephalopod reference genome. For many cephalopod researchers, particularly those employing evolutionary, molecular and ecological approaches, the absence of substantial genomic information on cephalopods has now become a major barrier to research progress. Although the field would be immensely aided by a reference genome or even a deeply annotated transcriptome, there has as yet been no focused or coordinated examination of species choices, depths of genome annotation and completion needed, and mechanisms of project organization and funding. A Catalysis Meeting is an ideal mechanism for bringing cephalopod biologists together with a diverse set of experts in genomics to address how best to move cephalopod research into the post-genomic age. The goal of the meeting would be to instigate collaborations and data-sharing across researchers in the field and to generate a white paper with recommendations and funding strategies for cephalopod genomics.