genomics

Dr. Jeremie Fant, Chicago Botanical Garden

Many land managers are aware of the value of genetic data for making important decisions for the management of rare species. In the ever-expanding world of Genomics, practitioners now have access to more comprehensive and accurate data. However, the speed of change can make it hard to keep up to date with the technology and to appreciate what it offers, not to mention how to access this technology. After hosting a workshop on genomics tools in Hawai`i, it become clear that there can be a large gap between needs and access. After the workshop, we surveyed the needs of Land Managers working on the restoration of Lobeliod species – one of the most endangered taxonomic groups in Hawai`i. The aim of the survey was to 1) identify common needs, 2) clarify what genomics can offer (potential and limitations), and 3) develop ideas for the best ways of moving forward. This presentation will cover the lesson learned from this survey and hopefully help other land managers identify how they can too incorporate genomics into their management plans.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Dr. Sally M Chambers, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Next generation sequencing technologies have rapidly developed over the past decade, providing new avenues for scientists working on non-model organisms to study patterns at the genome level. Techniques can be used to drastically simplify a complex genome and multiplex samples, which help make these sequencing platforms more cost effective than traditional methods when standardized by the amount of data generated. However, a number of factors need to be taken into account when developing a next-generation sequencing project, including genome size and complexity. Ferns are well known for having large and complex genomes, as many lineages are characterized by reticulate evolution. This produces species complexes that contain multiple hybrid individuals. Based on recent experiences in developing a study to resolve relationships within a species complex of North American Dryopteris, the applicability of double-digest RAD sequencing proved difficult. Lessons learned from this experience will be shared in order to assist others that would like to apply RADseq technologies to taxa with large or complex genomes.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Dr. Aryn Wilder, Institute for Conservation Research, San Diego Zoo Global

Human activity has left species worldwide on the brink of extinction, where they are susceptible to the loss of genetic diversity and the accumulation of deleterious mutations that reduce adaptive potential and increase extinction risk. The application of modern genomic tools allows us to more accurately assess the conservation status of populations and examine the genetic factors that contribute to extinction. I will present case studies from animal populations where we are applying genomics as a conservation tool. First, we compared genomic characteristics of two closely related white rhino subspecies, the northern white rhino (NWR) which has been driven effectively to extinction, and the southern white rhino which has mounted a remarkable recovery, to provide insight into the potential for restoration of NWR. Second, we are currently generating low-coverage, whole genome sequence data from hundreds of wild and captive Pacific pocket mice. Combined with imputation, low coverage sequencing provides a cost-effective way to infer genotypes across the genome for a large number of individuals, providing statistical power needed to measure the genetic basis of fitness-related traits. The advancement and increasing cost-effectiveness of genomic technologies will continue to provide valuable insights applicable to conservation across taxa.

Date Recorded: 
Tuesday, September 10, 2019