The Kakapo 125 Genomes Project, launched yesterday, will provide detailed genetic information necessary to minimise the loss of kakapo genetic diversity, and optimise health and productivity in the existing population.
The crowdfunded project aims to sequence the genomes of all 125 members of the green parrot species – the first time genomes will be sequenced for an entire species. It is a collaboration between researchers from the Department of Conservation’s Kakapo Recovery Group, the University of Otago, Duke University (USA), the Genetic Rescue Foundation and NZ Genomics Ltd (NZGL).
Associate Professor Bruce Robertson from the University of Otago said the research will allow better conservation management of the small population of iconic New Zealand birds.
“A genome-wide understanding of genetic variation will help to develop breeding strategies to retain variation at genes important for species persistence, such as the immunity genes and their role in kakapo diseases,” he said in a media release.
Coverage of the project includes:
Stuff.co.nz: Kakapo to have genomes sequenced in a world first for science
MSN NZ: Ground-breaking research to help kakapos
Newshub: Every single kakapo’s genome to be sequenced
Otago Daily Times: ‘World-first’ effort
BBC News: Endangered New Zealand parrots to have genomes sequenced