I am absolutely thrilled to the gills about winning a place for the lesser spotted catshark in the 25 genomes competition. What a ride it has been! I especially want to thank all of the students and members of the public for participating (and for voting). There were a lot of excellent questions! Some of them were really tricky and I have to admit I needed to do some research myself to answer them more than once. Thankfully I was sharing the chatroom with some other amazing Iconic species champions who provided excellent, informative and entertaining answers while I consulted my textbooks! I wish we could all have been winners this time but I am certain that after these 25 genomes are sequenced more will be right around the corner and there are very good reasons to do every other species submitted in this competition.
We have a lot of big plans for the catshark genome and I can’t wait to get started working with Sanger and the rest of the catshark consortium. If I thought this competition kept me busy I expect the next year will be a real jaw(s)-dropper! You have really empowered those of us working in chondrichthyan evolution, ecology and development to do some top-notch science. I had better hope I inspired at least some of you to work towards joining us in this adventure because there is certainly going to be a lot of work to do in the coming years! And if you’re still not convinced catsharks are your cup of tea why not take a trip down to the Natural History Museum to check out some of the thousands of other species in the collections? You might be inspired to champion your own research ideas and next time around I could be the one quizzing you!
Dr. Kyle J Martin
Thanks to the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute for funding 25 Genomes.