Threatened Species Initiative

The Threatened Species Initiative (TSI) will create a national library of genomic data to support decision-making for biodiversity conservation. The program brings together genome biologists, population biologists, bioinformaticians, population geneticists and zoologists with conservation agencies across Australia, including government, zoos and NGOs.

The aim is to improve conservation practices through the use of cutting-edge genomics technology and advanced computational biology to transform the way the conservation industry manages wildlife recovery programs. The TSI will allow us to catalogue genetic diversity in threatened species and to empower conservation agencies to use this data when designing their conservation programs.

Building on existing Bioplatforms Australia investment into Oz Mammal Genomics (OMG), Genomics for Australian Plants (GAP) and the Australian Amphibian and Reptile Genomics (AusARG), the TSI will:

  • develop best practice reference genomes for up to 50 key threatened species in Australia, alongside reduced representation sequencing datasets for individuals of each species;
  • generate analytical methods for routine adoption of genetic analysis for threatened species management plans;
  • develop a reporting mechanism on genetic appropriateness of breeding populations for use in species translocations and subsequent management actions;
  • develop tools for ongoing genetic monitoring e.g. genetic diversity over time, response to intervention etc.;
  • ensure that genomic data is made freely available to enable iterative and ongoing analysis into the future.