The European Reference Genome Atlas (ERGA) initiative is a pan-European scientific response to current threats to biodiversity. Reference genomes provide the most complete insight into the genetic basis that forms each species and represent a powerful resource in understanding how biodiversity functions. With approximately one fifth of the ~200,000 European species at risk of extinction, we need to act fast and together to generate high-quality complete genome resources in large scale.

Science needs genomes to understand biodiversity,

biodiversity needs to be understood to be protected.

Coming soon..


Eurasian red squirrel
European garden spider


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Establishing high-quality reference genomes requires an interdisciplinary workflow
From species to genomes … and beyond.
From species selection to data analysis, the process of creating reference genomes for the entire biodiversity will involve a deep synergy among museums, research institutes, universities, sequencing centres, bioinformatics and computational groups. Citizens will also play an important role supporting the inclusion of all types of species.


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  • Creating and consolidating a collaborative and interdisciplinary network of scientists across Europe and associated countries
  • Connecting relevant infrastructure across Europe following a distributed model that can dynamically increase 
  • Propagating guidelines for state-of-the-art genome establishment through training and knowledge transfer


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ERGA is an bottom-up initiative based on people, consisting of hundreds of scientists across the entire European continent and beyond.
Research institutions, infrastructure facilities as well as partner genome projects will play an important role within ERGA. 
Finally, ERGA will have a focus on societal needs particularly related to Biodiversity conservation. For that purpose, ERGA will work engaging governmental and non-governmental entities and will closely involve citizens in different actions.  

“Species conservation is urgent and demands deep knowledge of the genetic features of their populations. A coordinated effort to generate complete reference genomes for all European biodiversity, such as what we are proposing with ERGA, can give us the whole picture about the adaptive differences and extent of a need for genetic rescue among populations and species.”


“The European Reference Genome Atlas project represents a major milestone in developing a global network-of-networks dedicated to sequencing all known eukaryotic life on Earth. The project will yield many benefits for humanity, from conserving biodiversity to expanding a green global bioeconomy. ”

Dr. Camila Mazzoni, Chair, ERGA. Research Group Leader Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research Berlin, Germany

Prof. Harris Lewin, Chair, The Earth BioGenome Project. Group Leader, University of Calirfornia, Davis, USA.


“We are entering a new era of genomics, in which reference sequences for all species will change the way we interact with the whole living world. The ERGA will coordinate European activities in this area and ensure that Europe plays a leading role in this fundamental initiative for 21st century science.”


“As citizens of the world, we need to take action to preserve biodiversity and to prevent the impact of human activity in the biosphere natural territories. The extraordinary advances in genomic technologies provide unique tools for preserving species and ecosystems. The ERGA initiative will coordinate individual efforts to ensure high-quality reference genomes for all European biodiversity.”

Professor Richard Durbin Department of Genetics University of Cambridge, United Kingdom


"Time is running out for many species, and we are in desperate need of genomic data to base our decisions on. Reference genomes together with population data allows in depth study of species and their adaptations to different environments. These data sets will enable us to take scientifically based decisions in urgent areas such as conservation, sustainable fishing, and pollinator preservation."

Prof. Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, Science for LIfe Laboratory, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden and Scientific Director Vertebrate Genomics, Broad Institute of MIT. and Harvard, Cambridge, USA


“I think with the ERGA initiative, European countries may be on their way to being the first project sequence high quality genomes of species of a continent. Such a goal is necessary for preserving and rescuing the planet’s biodiversity.”

Prof. Montserrat Corominas, Group Leader, Developmental Biology and Genomics Laboratory University of Barcelona, Spain


“An European-wide initiative like the ERGA is absolutely necessary given the scale of the proposed atlas. I belief this atlas will revolutionize of conservation science, agricultural and animal science, and even contribute significantly to medicine.”

Dr. Eugene W. Myers, Group Leader Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics Dresden, Germany

Professor Erich D. Jarvis, Chair, Vertebrate Genomes Project. Head, Laboratory of Neurogenetics of Language and The Rockefeller University, USA



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ERGA is the pan-European partner of the Earth Biogenome Project (EBP)
Regional Partners:
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Worldwide Partners:
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