The Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge has committed to sequencing the genomes of all 66,000 UK species and will act as a hub for the UK's contributions toward the ambitious project.
Every known animal, plant, fungus and protozoa (single-celled organism) in the UK will have its DNA decoded and recorded - amounting to 66,000 species.
Other institutions and universities that are participating in the attempt are the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Gardens, the Museums of London and Edinburgh University - and all will be coordinated from Cambridge.
It is hoped that the information gathered will be able to be used successfully to save endangered species.
But researchers say the information will also be likely to form the basis of new drugs, fuels and even food.
Across the globe, the genomes of more than 1.5 million species will be recorded.
The UKs effort, known as the Darwin Tree of Life Project, officially launched today in London and is estimated to cost approximately £100 million over the first five years.