Assembling a High Quality Reference Genome for Sage-grouse to Serve as a Resource for Future Studies

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A male Gunnison Sage-grouse. Photo by Doug Ouren, USGS.
A male Gunnison Sage-grouse. Photo by Doug Ouren, USGS.

Conservation genomics is a new field of science that applies novel whole-genome sequencing technology to problems in conservation biology. Rapidly advancing molecular technologies are revolutionizing wildlife ecology, greatly expanding our understanding of wildlife and their interactions with the environment. In the same way that molecular tools such as microsatellites revolutionized wildlife management in the past, evolving genomic-level data collection techniques are beginning to offer powerful ways to assess biodiversity, taxonomy, hybridization, diets, demography, disease resistance and outbreaks, and even local adaptation. 

This goal of this project is to sequence and assemble a high-quality reference genome for Gunnison Sage-grouse. Assembling such a reference genome can benefit several types of analyses common to conservation genetics. As Gunnison and Greater Sage-grouse are closely related, this reference genome will serve as a resource for future studies in both species, and will inform management and conservation decisions.