Northern California Science Writers Association

Genomics for conservation

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021
  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • free Zoom event (register for the link)


Registration is closed

California's wildlife faces an uncertain future. Populations are fragmented due to an expanding human footprint, climate change, and myriad other stressors. As wild populations shrink, so does the genetic diversity that is necessary for the health, and future resiliency, of our native fauna and flora. To help determine population health and plan for the inevitable consequences of climate change, the California Conservation Genomics Project is producing the most comprehensive, multispecies, genomic dataset ever assembled with the explicit goal of managing California biodiversity. 

Brad Shaffer, Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Los Angeles, spearheads this initiative. He will describe how the project has identified species, ecosystems and communities that summarize natural genetic variation across the 18 terrestrial ecoregions and entire coastline that comprise California. By collecting genomic data in a consistent way across taxa, the project will combine and analyze data from 230 species and ~18,000 fully-sequenced genomes to create the first comprehensive genomic map of the state. Scientists and policy-makers will use this map and associated resources to identify healthy and at-risk regions of the state, define management units across species, and guide activities that range from the placement of solar installations to the repatriation of confiscated plants and animals.

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