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August 18, 2022

Minderoo, Illumina commit $27.8 million to genomics in conservation

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Minderoo Foundation and Illumina, Inc. have announced a commitment of AU$40 million ($27.8 million) in support of a three-year partnership designed to accelerate scientific understanding of marine systems by leveraging genomics and help marine conservationists make informed decisions.

The partnership aims to better understand marine ecosystems using environmental DNA (eDNA). According to Illumina, surveillance of marine ecosystems using eDNA can increase the resolution and sensitivity with which scientists can understand biodiversity and measure change. Through the partnership, innovations from the human health industry will help to enrich complex marine samples for sequence information specific to marine vertebrates.

One major objective of the partnership is to create reference genomes from the wealth of samples already held in museum collections. As part of the research and development partnership, Minderoo Foundation installed a NextSeq 2000 sequencing system, one of Illumina’s most advanced high-throughput benchtop DNA sequencers, aboard its research vessel.

“By rapidly identifying species that may be endangered, invasive, or otherwise poorly understood, the research will contribute data and information to support timely and impactful marine biodiversity conservation,” said Minderoo Foundation director of OceanOmics Steve Burnell. “Minderoo Foundation is committed to returning our oceans to a flourishing state.”

(Photo credit: Getty Images/lindsay imagery)