Threatened Species Initiative: Empowering conservation action using genomic resources

Carolyn J. Hogg, Kym Ottewell, Peter Latch, Maurizio Rossetto, James Biggs, Andrew Gilbert, Sarah Richmond, Katherine Belov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Globally, 15,521 animal species are listed as threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and of these less than 3% have genomic resources that can inform conservation management. To combat this, global genome initiatives are developing genomic resources, yet production of a reference genome alone does not conserve a species. The reference genome allows us to develop a suite of tools to understand both genome-wide and functional diversity within and between species. Conservation practitioners can use these tools to inform their decision-making. But, at present there is an implementation gap between the release of genome information and the use of genomic data in applied conservation by conservation practitioners. In May 2020, we launched the Threatened Species Initiative and brought a consortium of genome biologists, population biologists, bioinformaticians, population geneticists, and ecologists together with conservation agencies across Australia, including government, zoos, and nongovernment organizations. Our objective is to create a foundation of genomic data to advance our understanding of key Australian threatened species, and ultimately empower conservation practitioners to access and apply genomic data to their decision-making processes through a web-based portal. Currently, we are developing genomic resources for 61 threatened species from a range of taxa, across Australia, with more than 130 collaborators from government, academia, and conservation organizations. Developed in direct consultation with government threatened-species managers and other conservation practitioners, herein we present our framework for meeting their needs and our systematic approach to integrating genomics into threatened species recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2115643118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


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