Cells are the fundamental units of life – underlying cooperative functions in multicellular organisms and complex temporal life cycles in microbial eukaryotes. In recent years, the rapid advance in single-cell genomics technologies, combined with the growing availability of whole-genome sequences, opened up the opportunity to systematically map cell types in diverse organisms.
The goal of the Biodiversity Cell Atlas is to articulate a community effort to build whole-organism cell atlases across the diversity of life, working in a phylogenetically informed way, supported by high-quality genomes, and using shared standards that make comparisons across diversity possible. This coordinated effort should boost our understanding the evolution and diversity of life at cellular resolution: from gene regulatory programs, through cell type molecular profiles, to biological interactions between species.
To make this possible, this first meeting will bring together leading experts in biodiversity genomics, in model organism cell atlas initiatives, and in comparative single-cell genomics. We will discuss the opportunities and challenges ahead for reconstructing the cell type tree of life.
Arnau Sebé-Pedrós (Centre for Genomic Regulation)
Roderic Guigó (Centre for Genomic Regulation)
Mara Lawniczak (Wellcome Sanger Institute)
Detlev Arendt (European Molecular Biology Laboratory)
Amos Tanay (Weizmann Institute of Science)
Irene Papatheodorou (EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute)