Studying genomes to save endangered species 23.03.2021

ENDEMIXIT aims to preserve Italian species at extinction risk by studying their genome. Why the genome? The genome can be considered as the software that runs a computer, and by looking at the genome of species, we can understand if they are doing well or are endangered. One of the crucial information that we can find in the genome is the amount of genetic load, i.e., those features that negatively affect survival and tend to accumulate during population’s contractions when closely related individuals breed. Think about our intermarriage ban. It is known that intermarriage can lead to severe and harmful diseases, and the same applies to plants and animals. The extinction of mammoth was likely due to an excessive genetic load. We are analysing the genomes of five endemic Italian species to avoid loosing this unique biodiversity heritage.

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