1KITE - 1K INSECT TRANSCRIPTOME EVOLUTION
Insects are one of the most species-rich groups of metazoan organisms. They play a pivotal role in most non-marine ecosystems and many insect species are of enormous economical and medical importance. Unravelling the evolution of insects is essential for understanding how life in terrestrial and limnic environments evolved. The 1KITE (1K Insect Transcriptome Evolution) project aims to study the transcriptomes (that is the entirety of expressed genes) of more than 1,000 insect species encompassing all recognized insect orders. For each species, so-called ESTs (Expressed Sequence Tags) are generated using next generation sequencing techniques (NGS). Sequencing and assembly of raw data of more than 1,200 species has been finished. The expected data will allow inferring robust phylogenetic backbone trees of insects. Furthermore, the project includes the development of new software for data quality assessment and analysis. 1KITE has brought together internationally recognized experts in molecular biology, morphology, paleontology, embryology, bioinformatics, and scientific computing in a yet unparalleled way. Overall, scientists from eleven nations (Australia, Austria, China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, UK and the US) are tightly collaborating in the 1KITE project.