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How genomics can help biodiversity conservation

Academic literature review
Year of publication
Trends in Genetics
External websites
Involved from NIVA
Paul Ragnar Berg
Kathrin Theissinger, Carlos Fernandes, Giulio Formenti, Iliana Bista, Paul Ragnar Berg, Christoph Bleidorn, Aureliano Bombarely, Angelica Crottini, Guido R. Gallo, José A. Godoy, Sissel Jentoft, Joanna Malukiewicz, Alice Mouton, Rebekah Alice Oomen, Sadye Paez, Per J. Palsbøll, Christophe Pampoulie, María J. Ruiz-López, Simona Secomandi, Hannes Svardal, Constantina Theofanopoulou, Jan de Vries, Ann-Marie Waldvogel, Guojie Zhang, Erich D. Jarvis, Miklós Bálint, Claudio Ciofi, Robert M. Waterhouse, Camila J. Mazzoni, Jacob Höglund, Sargis A. Aghayan, Tyler S. Alioto, Isabel Almudí, Nadir Alvarez, Paulo C. Alves, Isabel R. Amorim do Rosario, Agostinho Antunes, Paula Arribas, Petr Baldrian, Giorgio Bertorelle, Astrid Böhne, Andrea Bonisoli-Alquati, Ljudevit L. Boštjančić, Bastien Boussau, Catherine M. Breton, Elena Buzan, Paula F. Campos, Carlos Carreras, L. Filipe C. Castro, Luis J. Chueca, Marcus Thomas Pius Gilbert, Peter D. Heintzman, Kjetill Sigurd Jakobsen, Michael Matschiner, Gabrielle Zammit


The availability of public genomic resources can greatly assist biodiversity assessment, conservation, and restoration efforts by providing evidence for scientifically informed management decisions. Here we survey the main approaches and applications in biodiversity and conservation genomics, considering practical factors, such as cost, time, prerequisite skills, and current shortcomings of applications. Most approaches perform best in combination with reference genomes from the target species or closely related species. We review case studies to illustrate how reference genomes can facilitate biodiversity research and conservation across the tree of life. We conclude that the time is ripe to view reference genomes as fundamental resources and to integrate their use as a best practice in conservation genomics.