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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Genetics
Early online date16 Feb 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2023


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


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