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Biochemistry Seminar: Marissa Le Lec – PhD Candidate

The kākāpō is one of the many species in Aotearoa New Zealand that has suffered severe population declines as a result of introduced mammalian predators.

The kākāpō population is now increasing thanks to an intensive recovery programme, but still requires significant management. As part of this programme, genomes of nearly all living kākāpō have been sequenced. This represents a chance to identify areas in which genomic data can aid conservation, and address genetic concerns such as inbreeding and lack of genetic diversity.

This project first focussed on developing the genomic resources to enable further research in kākāpō, including a creating a genomic-based pedigree, haplotypes, and resequencing an additional cohort of kākāpō hatched in a recent breeding season. A linked population and genome model was then used to better understand how kākāpō management such as translocation of birds between the subpopulations, and use of artificial insemination, impacts retention of genetic diversity.

Finally, genomic data from the extant kākāpō population, alongside portable Oxford Nanopore sequencing, was used in the field to obtain parentage and sex results for kākāpō chicks within days of their hatch. Conservation managers were therefore able to make informed decisions about chick translocations, veterinary care requirements based on the sex and weight of chicks, and could assess the results of artificial insemination.

This project demonstrates that genomic data has broad utility for conservation, and developed methods which could be applied to aid conservation of species in addition to kākāpō.

Streaming details:

Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 977 5670 4741
Password: bioc

Date Tuesday, 22 November 2022
Time 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Audience Undergraduate students,Postgraduate students,Staff
Event Category Health Sciences
Event Type Academic
LocationBiochemistry Seminar Room G.13 (BIG13) and via Zoom, Dunedn
Contact NameDepartment of Biochemistry

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