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Read about some of the fascinating research funded by Genomics Aotearoa:

Genomic insights assist conservation of kuaka Whenua Hou 

Genomics Aotearoa HQG+PG researchers from MWLR are working with DoC, Ngāi Tahu, and Papatipu Rūnaka (including Whenua Hou Komiti and Kaitiaki Rōpū) to establish baseline genomic data that can be used to inform conservation management of the kuaka Whenua Hou (Whenua Hou diving petrel).  

Early career researcher support is a key focus for building capability 

Genomics Aotearoa is a substantial contributor to the development of postdoctoral fellows and early career researchers in Aotearoa. Since 2017, 56 early career researchers have contributed their expertise to Genomics Aotearoa projects, making it one of the most significant funders of early career researchers across research organisations in Aotearoa. 

Seminars share knowledge with the global genomics research community 

Genomics Aotearoa’s Friday seminar series has blossomed, from a good idea that linked our researchers during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, to successfully growing a genomics community within Aotearoa New Zealand . 

Genome graphs lead to unique insights into infectious diseases 

Genomics Aotearoa’s Genome Graphs project team is testing new techniques to better understand infectious diseases, using pangenome graphs - these are data structures used to represent and compare the genetic variation within a species or a population, providing a comprehensive view of their genetic diversity. 

Genomic resources help Ngā Iwi i Te Rohe o Te Waiariki develop aquaculture for haku/kingfish

Ngā Iwi i Te Rohe o Te Waiariki want to develop haku (kingfish), among other finfish species, aquaculture in their rohe in Toi-te-Huatahi (the Bay of Plenty) and need to generate genomic knowledge and resources to do this. 

Metagenomics Summer School builds capability across the motu 

Genomics Aotearoa is continuing to build capability to make full use of Metagenomics - the study of the genetic material recovered from environmental samples. That means investing in training, something the Genomics Aotearoa Environmental Microbiomes team at the University of Auckland has successfully addressed through its annual Metagenomics Summer School.

Enhancing opportunities for blueberry production in Aotearoa and internationally

Genomics Aotearoa and Plant & Food Research have been involved in an international project to improve fruit quality of blueberry and cranberry. The aim is to understand the factors that contribute to quality, and what will lead to greater economic value.  

Rakeiora: ground-breaking research guides the path to precision healthcare 

Precision medicine (also known as personalised medicine) helps guide healthcare providers’ understanding of genetic contributions to a patient’s health, susceptibility or resilience to disease, and their response to therapeutic interventions. The nationally scalable prototype computational infrastructure developed through the Rakeiora project links together whole genome sequence data and healthcare information for individuals and whānau, which will lead to a system for precision healthcare delivery in New Zealand. 

Genomic disease diagnostics solve the riddle of sudden kākāpō deaths 

Researching the cause of the 2019 kākāpō aspergillosis outbreak has provided information which may prove vital for kākāpō conservation. The findings are already helping to fine-tune management and care practices to minimise the risk to future breeding seasons, and to the population in general. 

Waiwera estuary datasets reveals astonishing information on viruses

Research suggests that viruses can significantly manipulate microbial communities and biogeochemistry in the terrestrial subsurface. This new understanding at both the microbial and virus level enables a more comprehensive overview of the Waiwera Estuary composition and function. 

Kākāpō recovery – new information on growth, fertility, embryo survival and clutch size critical to species survival 

As genomics technology has continued to advance, so too has our ability to map and understand key kākāpō survival traits.

Engaging with end-users of Invasomics helps to prevent a stinky problem

New Zealand’s borders are highly vulnerable to the continuous threat of new pests and diseases with the potential to cause immense environmental and agricultural damage - the stinky bug being one such threat.

Gillenia – a Rosetta stone for Rosaceae 

Genomics Aotearoa-funded researchers have produced a new high quality genome assembly on Gillenia, a perennial shrub related to edible fruits, which has enormous potential for further developments for our tree crop production.

A sheep pangenome for the benefit of primary production 

In Aotearoa you don’t have to be a farmer to know that not all sheep breeds are the same. The sheep pangenome project (officially the Ovine Pangenome project) aims to deliver high-quality genomes for 16 sheep breeds, chosen for their divergent and important traits.

Working with communities to gain insight into Group A Streptococcus

Many bacteria that are a concern for public health vary in their symptoms and clinical presentations (the associated symptoms of disease); one example being Streptococcus pyogenes - a pathogen of major health concern.

Māori-led genomics 

Understanding the unique variation in the Aotearoa population and its health consequences is essential for accurate diagnosis and the effective use of genomics in our own healthcare. 

Clinical genomics analysis corrects a decades-long mis-diagnosis 

Genomics diagnosis in clinical medicine is well established overseas, but a lack of diagnostic capability and infrastructure in New Zealand is forcing clinicians to purchase sequencing and analysis overseas. The completed Clinical Genomics project contributed to the development of the workforce and skills, which is vital to support genomic diagnostics in healthcare delivery.

The Genomics Aotearoa/NeSI training partnership goes from strength to strength 

Genomic Aotearoa’s approach to bioinformatics is one of research and upskilling. The aim is to upskill New Zealand’s biologists to analyse their own data through training opportunities, infrastructure, and building new tools and technologies into projects.

Data sovereignty in action 

One of the most important projects Genomics Aotearoa has undertaken is the Aotearoa Genomic Data Repository (AGDR) - a unique online resource that provides a secure place for the Aotearoa research community to store and to share genomic data within a Māori values context, following the principles of Māori Data Sovereignty.  

Te Nohonga Kaitiaki guidelines define a framework for engagement 

A Genomics Aotearoa project has developed culturally informed ethical guidelines to connect Māori concepts and expectations of kaitiakitanga to the context of genomics. These guidelines incorporate Vision Mātauranga and support greater benefit sharing.

A high-quality Bilberry genome for the benefit of Blueberry growers

A joint team of MBIE Filling the Void and Genomics Aotearoa researchers has sequenced the world's first bilberry genome, which presents opportunities for developing New Zealand's blueberry production.

Are you my father? Population-wide genomics confirms kākāpō paternity

Having a whole genome sequence has opened the possibilities for understanding the health and fertility of kākāpō - one of New Zealand’s most critically-endangered species, and now it’s helped to confirm parentage.

A SING Aotearoa experience - Jordon Lima (Ngāti Porou)

Attending her first SING Aotearoa conference was transformational for Jordon Lima.

Aquatic ecosystem function and diversity along a freshwater-to-marine gradient

Understanding variations in factors such as microbial nutrient uptake, transformation, and photosynthesis is important for managing water resources, as imbalances in both nutrient availability and photosynthesis can lead to poor water quality.

Blooming cyanobacteria!

One of the consequences of declining water quality is an increase in cyanobacteria – these are photosynthetic bacteria that live in a wide variety of aquatic or wet habitats.

Genome sequencing of three invasive wasps informs next-generation pest control

Genomic sequencing of three invasive wasps paves the way to better options to control these pests.

Genomic adaptations to a precarious environment - hot spring cosmopolitanism

In Aotearoa, novel species of the bacterial genus Acidithiobacillus are exceptionally prevalent in hot springs, including at temperatures far above those previously known for the genus.

High quality sheep genomes capitalise on existing knowledge

Considerable resources are available on sheep genetics in Aotearoa. How can we refine new genomic technologies and incorporate them into the existing frameworks ?

Metagenomics summer school demystifies data analysis

Metagenomics, the study of genetic material recovered directly from environmental samples, is giving microbial ecologists a much more detailed look at the previously hidden diversity of microscopic life, significantly adding to our understanding of the living world.

Rewarewa is our first native tree with a high quality genome - and Māori honey producers could benefit

The completion of the native rewarewa tree (Knightia excelsa) high quality genome demonstrates how Aotearoa is leading genomics for its native species.

Supernova and ingenuity solve a stick insect problem

NeSI provides Genomics Aotearoa with access to dedicated high-memory compute services. Their combination of bioinformatics expertise and platform resources successfully overcame barriers to a complex stick insect genome assembly.

Syndactyly genomics research offers family some control

The medical term for two or more fingers or toes that are fused together or “webbed” is syndactyly. while common and often mild, rarer, more severe forms of the condition can significantly impair hand and foot function.

Upskilling our clinical workforce

New Zealand is getting prepared for more genetic- and genomic-based health care options.