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Representation and participation across 20 years of plant genome sequencing
Nature Plants  (IF15.793),  Pub Date : 2021-11-29, DOI: 10.1038/s41477-021-01031-8
Rose A. Marks, Scott Hotaling, Paul B. Frandsen, Robert VanBuren

The field of plant genome sequencing has grown rapidly in the past 20 years, leading to increases in the quantity and quality of publicly available genomic resources. The growing wealth of genomic data from an increasingly diverse set of taxa provides unprecedented potential to better understand the genome biology and evolution of land plants. Here we provide a contemporary view of land plant genomics, including analyses on assembly quality, taxonomic distribution of sequenced species and national participation. We show that assembly quality has increased dramatically in recent years, that substantial taxonomic gaps exist and that the field has been dominated by affluent nations in the Global North and China, despite a wide geographic distribution of study species. We identify numerous disconnects between the native range of focal species and the national affiliation of the researchers studying them, which we argue are rooted in colonialism—both past and present. Luckily, falling sequencing costs, widening availability of analytical tools and an increasingly connected scientific community provide key opportunities to improve existing assemblies, fill sampling gaps and empower a more global plant genomics community.