Australian Geographic

Our new conservation superpower

When the first kangaroo genome was sequenced a decade ago by an Aussie-based worldwide team of more than 50 researchers, it was lauded as a stunning piece of science.

There were expectations it would reveal much about the evolution of this continent’s largely unique mammal fauna, and it has. But to most scientists working in Australian wildlife conservation, it didn’t seem to have a lot of practical relevance.

“Since then, however, technologies have improved and we’ve come to understand what we can use genomes for and the huge power they have,” explains Dr Carolyn Hogg, senior research manager of the Australasian Wildlife Genomics Group at the University of Sydney. “We’ve come to realise during the past 10 years that genomes are such powerful tools for not only answering complex biological questions but also for helping to make smarter conservation planning and management decisions.

“So we’re now on a mission to sequence the genomes of 50

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