Oz Mammals Genomics

Australia is famous for its unique terrestrial mammal fauna with most species found no-where else. In the last 200 years, approximately 30 species have become extinct including the thylacine, pig-footed bandicoot, eastern hare-wallaby and long-tailed hopping mouse. Many others are now threatened and extinctions are continuing.

The Oz Mammals Genomics Framework Data Initiative aims to build genomic resources, collected from species around Australia as well as from historical specimens, to understand and protect Australia’s mammals.

Australian marsupials are genetically distinct and developmentally unique. Their genomes contain a vast array of information including novel antimicrobials, information on sex chromosome evolution and are an especially important comparative resource for understanding mammalian diversity worldwide. From the few marsupials and monotremes for which genomes have been studied in detail, including the Koala Genome, we have made some spectacular, globally significant discoveries about evolution. Given the unique history and biology of Australian mammals, these discoveries are just the tip of the iceberg.

This collaborative project created a framework dataset that is a foundation for developing a comprehensive understanding of the relationships of our mammal species – including recently extinct species – that underpins both studies of their evolution, as well as improve understanding of extinction risk. Genomic data was collected from species around Australia as well as from historical specimens from the Australian and International museum collections.

The national consortium of over 30 partners is led by the Australian Museum and Australian National University and includes the South Australian Museum, Museum Victoria, Western Australian Museum, Queensland Museum, CSIRO through the National Research Collections of Australia, the Threatened Species Recovery Hub, the Atlas of Living Australia, Government and state agencies including Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife, several universities and NGOs. Internationally, the project is also involved with Genome 10K, EDGE and IUCN Conservation Genetics.

The consortium objectives are to:

  • Build a foundation of genomic data to advance our understanding and conservation of Australia’s unique mammals;
  • Establish genomics as a key capacity across Australian museums and government agencies, build the community to sustain this;
  • Increase awareness of the public and conservation managers of the diversity of Australian mammals and how genomics can aid in their protection.

Project Details

  • Project Contacts

    Sarah Richmond

    Andrew Gilbert
    T: 02 9850 8281 | agilbert@bioplatforms.com

  • Project acknowledgements and citation

    Project DOI: https://doi.org/10.25953/cg5b-qd03

    NCBI Umbrella Bioproject ID: PRJNA1075707

    Authors: The Oz Mammals Genomics Initiative Consortium

    Funding: Bioplatforms Australia, enabled by NCRIS, and the Oz Mammals Genomics Initiative Consortium

    Keywords: Australian mammals, genomics, dataset resource, reference genomes, phylogenomics, population genomics

    Years active: 2016 – 2021

    How to cite

    Acknowledgements (see Communications policy for further details)

    We would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Oz Mammals Genomics initiative consortium in the generation of data used in this [publication]. The Initiative is supported by funding from Bioplatforms Australia, enabled by the Commonwealth Government National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).


  • More Information

    For further information please visit the Bioplatforms Australia Data Portal.

  • Articles and Publications

    Oz Mammals Genomics Factsheet
    Bioplatforms Australia
    June 2017
    View Article

    Oz Mammals Genomics
    Australasian Science
    March-April 2017
    View Article

    Oz Mammals Genomics Press Release
    Australian Museum
    October 2016
    View Article

    Oz Mammals Genomics Press Release
    Bioplatforms Australia
    October 2016
    View Article

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