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The expectations and challenges of wildlife disease research in the era of genomics: Forecasting with a horizon scan-like exercise


Fitak, RR and Antonides, JD and Baitchman, EJ and Bonaccorso, E and Braun, J and Kubiski, S and Chiu, E and Fagre, AC and Gagne, RB and Lee, JS and Malmberg, JL and Stenglein, MD and Dusek, RJ and Forgacs, D and Fountain-Jones, NM and Gilbertson, MLJ and Worsley-Tonks, KEL and Funk, WC and Trumbo, DR and Ghersi, BM and Grimaldi, W and Heisel, SE and Jardine, CM and Kamath, PL and Karmacharya, D and Kozakiewicz, CP and Kraberger, S and Loisel, DA and McDonald, C and Miller, S and O'Rourke, D and Ott-Conn, CN and Paez-Vacas, M and Peel, AJ and Turner, WC and VanAcker, MC and VandeWoude, S and Pecon-Slattery, J, The expectations and challenges of wildlife disease research in the era of genomics: Forecasting with a horizon scan-like exercise, Journal of Heredity, 110, (3) pp. 261-274. ISSN 0022-1503 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1093/jhered/esz001


The outbreak and transmission of disease-causing pathogens are contributing to the unprecedented rate of biodiversity decline. Recent advances in genomics have coalesced into powerful tools to monitor, detect, and reconstruct the role of pathogens impacting wildlife populations. Wildlife researchers are thus uniquely positioned to merge ecological and evolutionary studies with genomic technologies to exploit unprecedented "Big Data" tools in disease research; however, many researchers lack the training and expertise required to use these computationally intensive methodologies. To address this disparity, the inaugural "Genomics of Disease in Wildlife" workshop assembled early to mid-career professionals with expertise across scientific disciplines (e.g., genomics, wildlife biology, veterinary sciences, and conservation management) for training in the application of genomic tools to wildlife disease research. A horizon scanning-like exercise, an activity to identify forthcoming trends and challenges, performed by the workshop participants identified and discussed 5 themes considered to be the most pressing to the application of genomics in wildlife disease research: 1) "Improving communication," 2) "Methodological and analytical advancements," 3) "Translation into practice," 4) "Integrating landscape ecology and genomics," and 5) "Emerging new questions." Wide-ranging solutions from the horizon scan were international in scope, itemized both deficiencies and strengths in wildlife genomic initiatives, promoted the use of genomic technologies to unite wildlife and human disease research, and advocated best practices for optimal use of genomic tools in wildlife disease projects. The results offer a glimpse of the potential revolution in human and wildlife disease research possible through multi-disciplinary collaborations at local, regional, and global scales.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:biodiversity, bioinformatics, comparative genomics, host, next generation DNA sequencing, pathogen
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Genetics
Research Field:Genomics
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Kozakiewicz, CP (Mr Christopher Kozakiewicz)
ID Code:152569
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Research Performance and Analysis
Deposited On:2022-08-22
Last Modified:2022-09-15

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