Monday, July 9, 2018

Researchers Determine Koala DNA Sequencing

Article Written By: Juliana Zadarko


Image credit: Holger Detje

The first high-quality genomic sequence for the koala has been created. After sequencing over 3.4 billion base pairs and more than 26,000 genes in the koala genome, the team of scientists behind the Koala Genome Consortium finally assembled the complete sequence through the use of supercomputers.

Due to factors such as habitat destruction and fragmentation, disease, and drought, the koala gained status as ‘Vulnerable’ two years earlier on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The assembled genome produced by the team of 54 scientists spanning across seven countries and 29 different institutions will help ensure the longevity of the Australian marsupial. “This milestone has come from our vision to use genomics to conserve this species. The genetic blueprint has not only unearthed a wealth of data regarding the koalas unusual and highly specialized diet of eucalyptus leaves, but also provides important insights into their immune system, population diversity and the evolution of koalas,” explains director of the Australian Museum Research Institute, Professor Rebecca Johnson.

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