Prof Harris Lewin of the University of California, Davis, who chairs the project, said it could be as transformational for biology as the Human Genome Project, which decoded the human genome between 1990 and 2003.
So far, fewer than 3,500 complex life species, or only about 0.2 per cent, have had their genomes sequenced. Sequencing all known eukaryotic genomes, thousands at reference quality, will revolutionise our understanding of biology and evolution, bolster efforts to conserve, help protect and restore biodiversity, and in return create new benefits for society and human welfare. The initial stages of the EBP have served as an organizing glue for existing large-scale genome projects and their partnering institutions on eukaryotic species around the globe.
"Having the road map, the plans ... will be an awesome source for new discoveries, to understand the rules of life, how development works, new approaches to preserving rare species that are in danger of disappearing and ... new resources for researchers in the fields of agriculture and medicine, "he told journalists in London".
The EBP has made extraordinary progress in the previous year leading up to the official launch.
The total volume of biological data that will be gathered is expected to be on the "exascale" - more than that accumulated by Twitter, YouTube or the whole of astronomy.
If Noah had today's genome sequencers he would have built a smaller ark - and filled it with hard drives. The Earth Biogenome Project is a global collaboration created to avoid duplication of research and to make all genome data inter-operable and open for public use.
And researchers at Harvard University have used genetic sequencing to map the genome of the extinct woolly mammoth in the hope it could be resurrected.
As a piece of the venture, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, that strives a critical half inside the human ordination venture, has focused on sequencing the genomes of every one of the 66,000 Great Britain species. The completed genome sequences will lead to future studies to understand the biodiversity of the United Kingdom and aid the conservation and understanding of United Kingdom species.
In Britain, organisations including the Natural History Museum, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and the Wellcome Sanger Institute have joined forces to sequence Britain's 66,000 species of animals, plants, protozoa and fungi. Dubbed the Darwin Tree of Life Project, it is expected to take 10 ten years and cost £100m. The EBP will help coordinate this effort with other affiliated projects to help reduce redundancy and maximize resources.
"Having the full genomes of all the organisms we share the planet with will change our ability to understand and care for them", biologist Mark Blaxter of Edinburgh Genomics and the University of Edinburgh said in a statement.
Jim Smith, scientific director of the Wellcome Trust charity, said the program "will inspire an worldwide level", and, like the Human Genome Program, has the potential to change research into illness and health. Embarking on a mission to sequence all life on Earth is no different.
Scientists also hope that unpicking the genetic code from plants could help uncover new treatments for diseases, slow ageing, improve crops and agriculture, and create new bio-materials.