Today, as hundreds, perhaps thousands, of human genomes are being sequenced, reference genomes are also being pursued for numerous other creatures with whom we share the planet. The motivators for such research are multifold. Often the drivers are economic, such as understanding pest or pesticide resistance in plants, or medical, as with virulence factors carried by microbes. For others, the motivation is sustainability; for example, enabling the breeding of endangered species, like pandas and polar bears, in captivity. Whatever the reason, the sequencing of reference genomes provides us with a new way to see life and, through comparisons between and amongst species, offers a deeper and richer understanding of the world we live in.