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"Despite its iconic status, there are major gaps in our understanding of cane toad genetics, and up until now, no one had put the genome together," says Peter White, project leader and Professor in Microbiology and Molecular Biology at UNSW.
A decade ago, researchers in WA had already tried to sequence the cane toad genome, but they encountered obstacles when it came to assembling it, and didn't complete the project.
Project - UNSW-University - Sydney - Team - Ramaciotti
For this project, the UNSW-University of Sydney team worked at the Ramaciotti Centre for Genomics at UNSW, which has played a role in decoding the genomes of other iconic Australian species, including the koala.
"Sequencing and assembling a genome is a complicated process. By using the cutting-edge sequencing technology and expertise available at UNSW, we sequenced 360-odd billion base pairs and assembled one of the best quality amphibian genomes to date," says Senior Lecturer Dr Rich Edwards, lead author of the study.
% - Cane - Toad - Genes - Technology
"We managed to decipher more than 90% of the cane toad genes using technology that can sequence very long pieces of DNA, which makes the task of putting together the genome jigsaw much easier."
Having a draft cane toad genome will help to close key knowledge gaps and accelerate cane toad research. More toads can now be sequenced at a fraction of the cost, and the genome is freely available -- anyone can access it now and conduct further research.
Analysis - Genome - Insights - Cane - Toad
"Future analysis of the genome will provide insights into cane toad evolution and enrich our understanding of their interplay with the ecosystem at large -- it will help us understand how the toad spreads, how its toxin works, and provide new avenues to try to control its population," says cane toad expert and Emeritus Professor Rick Shine from the University of Sydney.
"Very few amphibian genomes have been sequenced to date, so this is also...
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