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Symposium Biodiversity genomics

The international Symposium on “Reference Genomes for Biodiversity” will be held at the University of Cologne by researchers of the Institute of Zoology, September 5 to 8, 2022. This event marks the first annual meeting of the scientific DeRGA community (Deutscher Referenzgenom Atlas).

Biodiversity is key to preserve ecosystem functioning and their services essential to support human activities. Although the primary route to preserving biodiversity comprises protection of species and restoration of habitats and ecosystems, genomics provides a rapidly expanding array of novel tools to characterize biodiversity and assist such conservation efforts. Genomics provides an information-rich and quantitatively accurate way to understand the status of biodiversity, enabling comprehensive analyses of population and functional genomics. Progress in genome sequencing now allows the large-scale generation of reference genomes, providing unique insights into genomic diversity and architecture and are expected to revolutionize conservation genomics. While we already have a good understanding on how to effectively de novo sequence, assemble and annotate genomes of standard model organisms to highest quality and chromosome-scale resolution, far less knowledge is available to generate reference quality genomes for non-model species. Targeting biodiversity in the context of ecosystem stability and services, involves many taxa with scarce to none genomic resources available (e.g. microeukaryotes, soil invertebrates, marine invertebrates, wildflowers, algae, crust-forming biota, plant-fungus symbiotic communities, polyploids). Methodological advancements in sequencing technologies and also computational pipelines are greatly progressing, however, we have only just begun to test and apply these to a more diverse and more challenging spectrum of taxa. With the aim to interconnect international experts in the field of biodiversity genomics and discuss knowledge gained in pioneering studies on reference-quality de novo sequencing of challenging genomes, researchers of the Institute of Zoology organize the International Symposium on “Reference genomes for biodiversity” held at the University of Cologne, 5-8 September 2022.

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