Department News

Amanda Larracuente et al. finalists in the 2016 “Explore Your Most Interesting Genome” contest

April 11, 2016

Fireflies!  These silent fireworks on warm summer nights fill us with wonder.  But so much about these fascinating critters remains shrouded in mystery – from the details of how they light up their lanterns to the way some species are disappearing. 

As a part of the Pacific Biosciences “explore your most interesting genome” contest, a team of biologists has joined forces to sequence the genome of the Big Dipper Firefly, Photinus pyralis, your common backyard firefly.

After surviving some serious scrutiny, Amanda Larracuente and her collaborators are excited to be considered finalists.  If they win this contest, Pacific Biosciences will sequence the genome of their firefly species.  The winner will be chosen by public vote.

If you’d like to see the firefly genome sequenced, please visit and vote for the project.  Voting opens on Monday, April 11 and runs through Sunday, May 1st.  Each person can vote once per day. 

To learn more about this contest, please visit