Invited Speaker Annual Conference of the Genetics Society of Australasia with the NZ Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Wildlife genomics and conservation – lessons from the koala genome (664)

Rebecca Johnson 1
  1. Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Whether it is policing the illegal rhino horn trade, genome mediated conservation of the koala, or protecting Australia’s borders from invasive species, the research undertaken at the Australian Museum, utilising its extensive natural sciences collections, has never been more relevant or translational.

This talk will focus particularly on case studies from Rebecca’s work in the illegal wildlife trade and include lessons learned from the from the koala genome. Koalas, Phascolarctos cinereus, are iconic Australian marsupials, famous for their large furry ears, prominent black nose and their diet of toxic eucalyptus leaves. The koala is estimated to generate >AUD$1.5 billion per annum in tourism, yet represents a ‘conservation conundrum’ throughout its range on the Australian east coast where it is widely distributed but under threat from urbanisation, habitat loss, climate change and disease (including chlamydiosis). Rebecca will discuss how this genetic resource is of significant value to conservation and management of this important vulnerable species.