I5k Draft minutes, 3/23/22 - Jay Evans

Present: Kevin Hackett, Kristen Panfilio, Marian Goldsmith, Sue Brown, Anna Childers, Josh Benoit, Chris Childers, Robert Miller, Brad Coates, Jay Evans


  • Arthropod Genomics Symposium, Notre Dame, 6/9/22-6/11/22 schedule up, registration active, planned I5K lunch discussion (Sue B). Working on scheme to make posters available virtually (Kristen P)
  • Ent Society America Vancouver (11/13-11/16/22). Several proposed symposia, including Coates and Parys 'Good and the Bad: Pollinator and pest insect genomes'.
  • Lepidopteran Genetics/Genomes Workshop, Crete, 8/21-8/27/22. https://lepidoptera-2022.workshop.inrae.fr/ (Marian G).
  • AGSX, successful and ongoing, http://i5k.github.io/agsx2022, next up 4/12 (Brad C)

Other updates:

  • ARS starting various pangenome efforts, including one on honey bees. Justin Vaughn will provide an update in the future.
  • EBP 3/3/22 meeting. LC reported on biological sourcing and technology abuse concerns (one media report) and development of EBP responses/clarifications. Related, Thankgod Ebenezer from African Biogenomes Project and collaborators wrote an opinion piece in Nature (https://media.nature.com/original/magazine-assets/d41586-022-00712-4/d41586-022-00712-4.pdf) re: inclusion of scientists in biosource nations, as authors and leaders, 87 scientists recruited to ABP, wide range of countries. Some concerns over brain drain of trained scientists not returning to home countries, need for more in-country jobs, perhaps linked to medical genetics, ICIPE, Gates, etc.
  • ERGA and BioScan are joining forces, workpackages developed this spring
  • Kristen reported on a new funded effort in Germany (DFG = NSF) for a German-wide research consortium on insect genome evolution (Priority Program "GEvol", http://www.g-evol.com). Funding is for 17 individual grants under this umbrella, for an initiative to run for 3 + 3 years (subject to renewal evaluation). First grants start summer 2022. Consortium steering committee members include Erich Bornberg-Bauer (Münster) and Gregor Bucher (Göttingen).
    • Should they fit under the i5K umbrella and if so, how will this help them financially, or with resources/efforts/methodologies?

This triggered an existential discussion of the I5K, our goals, how to help such efforts, how to collaborate, i.e., is i5K doing what it should or where are the next pivots. Question not fully resolved but a healthy discussion including review of past/present activities, which are numerous:

Why 'join', or benefit from, i5K?

  1. Free Resources: Standards/pipelines/training (roadmap at http://i5k.github.io/, Mission statements there and "The i5k initiative is a transformative project that aims to sequence and analyze the genomes of 5,000 arthropod species. The National Agricultural Library has partnered with the i5k initiative to create the i5k Workspace@NAL, which serves any 'orphaned' arthropod genome project's hosting needs. For more information about the i5k initiative, read the paper(link is external) and visit the website(link is external)"
  2. The i5K workspace is available for post-gene-list tools, resources and analyses
  3. Build connections generally across projects, building gravitas perhaps, for funders, and uniting normally solitary bug people in a colony
  4. A database of ongoing arthropod genome projects (arguably GOAT is taking this on, and/or NCBI GP's, are we still relevant here?
  5. Funding help.. why have Bird10k, BatK, VGP been able to land massive initial funding and i5K has not? Do we want that? Too diverse? Impact is there and science has been successful
  6. AGS and other discussions that help shape strategy/keep abreast of advances.. like these calls, profile at Society meetings/ESA/ICE/PAG

What can we do better?

  • Comparative genomics? New models for making the best of core resources (exemplar finished genomes (e.g., milkweed bug, recently, bees)
  • Funding: Why no big $$ in ten years? Someone needs to lead an NSF pan-order (perhaps?) initiative
  • What can Steering Committees do these days? is all lost, are we anarchistic sailors adrift in a sea?… ok not that bad , but.. how do we reboot to shake things up a bit more?