Global Ocean Sampling Expedition
Scientific results from the Sorcerer II expedition have the potential to substantially advance the world's understanding of microbial communities, including the vital role that microorganisms play in the healthy functioning of natural ecosystems. For this reason, genomic sequencing data from the expedition will be publicly available to the international research and educational communities.
The genomic analysis of microbial communities may be particularly useful to the countries in which samples are taken. For example, these data may enhance a country's ability to monitor and protect its biodiversity. After these data are published, researchers in a given country may wish to pursue further study of microbes of particular scientific interest or potential commercial value.
The Venter Institute is a not-for-profit basic science research institute. Results from the microbial sampling and genomic sequencing research will be published in the scientific literature in collaboration with in-country scientists involved in the program. The data will be deposited in the publicly available GenBank or through a new web-based database established specifically for environmental genomics data. They will be publicly available to any scientist worldwide.
Consistent with national laws and applicable international treaties, and under the guidance of the U.S. Department of State, the Venter Institute obtains permits for research and sampling from every country in which samples will be taken. Scientific collaboration, education and training are an important part of the Sorcerer II Expedition as the vessel travels around the globe. In many countries, the Venter Institute has also signed memoranda of understanding describing additional components of the collaboration.
The Venter Institute develops cooperative relationships with leading international researchers located in each sampling region. All required research permits are obtained before sampling begins. In addition, the Venter Institute offers to develop memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with all countries where sampling takes place.
These memoranda typically include five fundamental principles of the Sorcerer II expedition:
- The purpose of the Expedition is to advance scientific knowledge of microbial biodiversity and humankind's basic understanding of oceanic biology, yielding insights into the complex interplay between groups of microorganisms that may affect environmental processes.
- Genomic sequence data from the study will be publicly available to scientists worldwide.
- No intellectual property rights will be sought by the Venter Institute on these genomic sequence data.
- The Venter Institute and its research collaborators will coauthor one (or more) scientific journal articles that describe and evaluate these genomic sequence data.
- The Venter Institute will offer training opportunities to scientists and students in the countries where sampling is conducted.