Principal Investigator: Lara Urban, University of Otago, in collaboration with the Vertebrate Genomes Project and the Takahē Recovery Programme, New Zealand
The takahē is the rarest and largest flightless rail in the world and is endemic to New Zealand. With the Murchison Mountains in Fiordland National Park as their only extant wild habitat, the species remains highly endangered. Once considered extinct, this species was rediscovered in 1948.
This project aims to first produce a platinum quality reference genome of the takahē in collaboration with the Vertebrate Genomes Project. Genomic sequencing data and pedigree analysis will reveal the genetic variation of the remaining population. These data will help to investigate and understand the genomic, phenotypic, microbial, and environmental factors that affect the fitness, persistence, and adaptive potential of the takahē. An extraordinarily detailed phenotypic and environmental dataset, cataloged by the Takahē Recovery Programme over decades, will empower a quantitative genomic approach rarely observed outside of humans, agricultural, or model species.