Genetics & Genomics

The Environmental Genetics and Genomics Program brings the power of new DNA technologies to bear on central questions in ecology, evolution and environmental management. At one end of the spectrum, we engage in detailed examination of traits such as sex determination, the immune system and the role of epigenetic factors in focal taxa to unveil the mysteries surrounding the interaction of genes and the environment. At the other end of the spectrum we combine genomic trace DNA and DNA genotyping to probe the historical phylogeography of Australasian fauna and to solve problems of forensic and ecological importance.

Highlighted Projects

Comparative epigenomics in amniotes: development of epigenetic analysis and identification of epigenetic signatures in sex determination and the immune system

The emerging field of epigenetics promises to unravel many unexplained mechanisms associated with various phenotypes including sex and diseases. Almost nothing is known about the evolution of this system. This project will compare epigenetic signatures of sex determination and the immune system among divergent taxa discovering the novel mechanisms in evolution of epigenetic regulation. Our research

Ancient bird-like sex chromosome

Recent discoveries reveal amazing similarity in the sex chromosomes of distantly related animals. This project will use advanced DNA technology to explore diverse sex chromosomes in reptiles to discover whether this signifies ancient and unsuspected common ancestry, or the convergent redeployment of genes and chromosomes predisposed to determine sex.

Mechanised extraction and next generation sequencing for the analysis of trace DNA in predator scats

We are using recent developments in high throughput DNA sequencing to to characterise the species profiles of DNA samples obtained from predator faeces (scats). This approach enables the simultaneous sequencing of millions of DNA fragments from a single sample or pool of samples. We are combining this high-tech approach with a massive systematic collection of