loading page

Expanding the conservation genomics toolbox: incorporating structural variants to enhance genomic studies for species of conservation concern
  • +6
  • Jana Wold,
  • Stephanie Galla,
  • Anna Santure,
  • David Eccles,
  • Carolyn J. Hogg,
  • Marissa Le Lec,
  • Klaus-Peter Koepfli,
  • Joseph Guhlin,
  • Tammy Steeves
Jana Wold
University of Canterbury
Author Profile
Stephanie Galla
University of Canterbury
Author Profile
Anna Santure
The University of Auckland
Author Profile
David Eccles
Malaghan Institute of Medical Research
Author Profile
Carolyn J. Hogg
The University of Sydney
Author Profile
Marissa Le Lec
University of Otago
Author Profile
Klaus-Peter Koepfli
Smithsonian Conservat Biol Inst
Author Profile
Joseph Guhlin
University of Otago
Author Profile
Tammy Steeves
University of Canterbury
Author Profile

Abstract

Structural variants (SVs) are large rearrangements (> 50 bp) within the genome that impact the form and structure of chromosomes. As a result, SVs are a significant source of functional genomic diversity, i.e. variation at genomic regions underpinning phenotype differences, that can have large effects on individual and population fitness. While there are increasing opportunities to investigate functional genomic diversity in threatened species via single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) datasets, SVs remain understudied despite their potential influence on complex traits of conservation interest. In this future-focused Opinion, we contend that characterizing SVs offers the conservation genomics community an exciting opportunity to complement SNP-based approaches to enhance species recovery. We identify three critical resources to characterize SVs de novo: 1) High-quality, contiguous, annotated reference genome(s); 2) Whole genome resequence data from representative individuals of the target species/populations; and 3) Well-curated metadata including pedigrees. We also leverage the existing literature–predominantly in human health, agriculture and eco-evol biology–to identify pangenomic approaches for readily characterizing SVs and consider how integrating these into the conservation genomics toolbox may transform the way we intensively manage some of the world’s most threatened species.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

31 May 2021Submitted to Molecular Ecology
02 Jun 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned