How genomics can help biodiversity conservation

Kathrin Theissinger, Carlos Fernandes, Giulio Formenti, Iliana Bista, Paul R. Berg, Christoph Bleidorn, Aureliano Bombarely, Angelica Crottini, Guido R. Gallo, José A. Godoy, Sissel Jentoft, Joanna Malukiewicz, Alice Mouton, Rebekah A. Oomen, Sadye Paez, Per J. Palsbøll, Christophe Pampoulie, María J. Ruiz-López, Simona Secomandi, Hannes SvardalConstantina Theofanopoulou, Jan de Vries, Ann-Marie Waldvogel, Guojie Zhang, Erich D. Jarvis, Miklós Bálint, Claudio Ciofi, Robert M. Waterhouse, Camila J. Mazzoni, Jacob Höglund* (Corresponding Author), The European Reference Genome Atlas Consortium, Kara Layton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)
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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-559
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Genetics
Issue number7
Early online date12 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

We thank Cecilia Helmerson, Antonio Rivas, Nelson Lauzon, and Sally Leys, for the pictures of the Atlantic cod, the Iberian lynx, the European beech, and the freshwater sponge, respectively. We also thank Fabien Condamine, Love Dalén, Richard Durbin, Bruno Fosso, Roderic Guigó, Marc Hanikenne, Alberto Pallavicini, Olga Vinnere Pettersson, Xavier Turon, and Detlef Weigel for their contributions to the manuscript, as well as the whole ERGA community for making this possible.


  • Anthropocene
  • biodiversity genomics
  • genomic toolbox
  • reference genomes
  • conservation applications
  • European Reference Genome Atlas (ERGA)


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