Kakapo 125 – Second 40 kākāpō sequenced

April 11, 2017 | Posted by Team in Scientist Profile |

Kakapo - Trevor

Science Exchange is a collaborator in the Kakapo 125 Project. The objective of this project is to sequence the genomes of all known living kākāpō. We’re pleased to share an update on the project’s progress. NZGL has completed sequencing the second 40 individual kākāpō!

The project is now past the halfway point with approximately 70 individuals remaining before we’ve successfully sequenced every individual in the entire species.

In the News

Scientific American Kakapo

The Kakapo 125 Project has been receiving worldwide media coverage. Here’s a selection of articles published about this groundbreaking work.

Sponsorship

Portraits

Sponsors of individual kākāpō genomes will shortly be receiving their custom DNA artwork. Each DNA portrait is constructed from the genetic data of the individual kākāpō and is guaranteed to be unique. Genome sponsorship forms a key component of ongoing fundraising for the project as we strive to sequence every genome in an entire species.

sponsor a genome button


Science Exchange is proud to be involved with this pioneering conservation initiative. Join Science Exchange today and work with us to accelerate your research.

Kakapo 125 – First 40 kākāpō sequenced

August 4, 2016 | Posted by Team in Scientist Profile |

Kakapo Chick

Science Exchange is a collaborator in the Kakapo 125 Project. The objective of this project is to sequence the genomes of all known living kākāpō. We’re pleased to share an update on the project’s progress. NZGL has completed sequencing the first 40 individual kākāpō!

Portraits

Sponsors of individual kākāpō genomes will shortly be receiving their custom DNA artwork produced by Nimble Diagnostics. Each DNA portrait is constructed from the genetic data of the individual kākāpō and is guaranteed to be unique. Genome sponsorship forms a key component of ongoing fundraising for the project as we strive to sequence every genome in an entire species.

sponsor a genome button

The data created as part of the Kakapo 125 Project will be made available to all researchers working on not-for-profit projects. To register your interest in the dataset generated to-date please send a request to The Department of Conservation (DOC).

We will soon be starting sequencing of the next 40 kākāpō genomes thanks to funding from a highly successful crowdfunding campaign on Experiment.com.

Kakapo Running

Science Exchange is proud to be involved with this pioneering conservation initiative. Join Science Exchange today and work with us to accelerate your research.

A Voyage Through the PacBio Genome Galaxy

March 16, 2016 | Posted by Team in Scientist Profile |

We are pleased to support the Genome Galaxy Initiative from PacBio. SMRT Sequencing Technology manufacturer PacBio recently unveiled the Genome Galaxy Initiative. The Genome Galaxy Initiative, based on the Experiment platform, supports expedited, open-access genomic projects. It’s a central location for SMRT Sequencing-based projects seeking crowdfunding, and fosters a community of scientists and patrons interested in asking research questions that can only be answered with long-read sequencing. As high-quality genome assemblies from the PacBio RS II and the Sequel System have become even more affordable and accessible, partnering with Experiment is a great fit. Through this program, even more scientists will have access to the most comprehensive view of genomes, transcriptomes, and epigenomes from SMRT Sequencing.

The Genome Galaxy Initiative

One of the initiatives flagship participants is the Kakapo 125 Project. An effort to sequence the genomes of every individual in the entire kākāpō species. This project was made possible thanks to the high quality reference genome generated by Dr. Jason Howard at Duke’s Jarvis Lab using SMRT Sequencing technology.

Kakapo Jasira

Other projects in the Genome Galaxy include efforts to find bacteria within ticks to stop diseases, as well as an investigation into the incredible nitrogen capturing properties of the fern Azolla. In addition to fostering a growing community of SMRT Sequencing related projects PacBio is also offering a grant program exploring the “most interesting genome” as voted for by the public. 2016 applications for this grant are now closed with a winner to be announced in April.

Science Exchange is also assisting in the Genome Galaxy Initiative with a number of its projects including the Kakapo 125 being managed on its platform. As well as hosting many of the projects Science Exchange is also the easiest and most comprehensive place to find SMRT Sequencing service providers.

science-exchange-smrt-sequencing

The Genome Galaxy Initiative is another great example of the industry coming together to support open access science and to help out with funding at the grassroots level. Science Exchange is excited to be affiliated with this initiative and looks forward to seeing many new and exciting stars being discovered there.

Kakapo 125 – Sequencing the genomes of all known kākāpō

February 1, 2016 | Posted by Team in Scientist Profile |

Kakapo-2

Science Exchange is pleased to announce it will be collaborating in the Kakapo 125 Project. The objective of this project is to sequence the genomes of all 125 known living kākāpō.

The kākāpō is a species of large, flightless, nocturnal, ground-dwelling parrot of the super-family Strigopoidea endemic to New Zealand. It is critically endangered; as of February 2016, the total known population is only 125 living individuals.

The Kākāpō Recovery Team relies on genetic information to manage kākāpō matings in order to ensure maximum genetic diversity. Having the whole genome of all remaining individuals would allow the team to better understand the relatedness of individuals to optimize breeding.

New Zealand Genomics LtdSequencing of the first 40 kākāpō genomes is already underway at Science Exchange’s newest New Zealand based service provider New Zealand Genomics Ltd (NZGL).

The Kakapo 125 Project is the latest project organized by The Genetic Rescue Foundation. The Genetic Rescue Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing scientific techniques that enable us to preserve global biodiversity. It was founded by Science Exchange software engineer and citizen/wannabe scientist David Iorns.

The Genetic Rescue Foundation has successfully raised funding for the first 40 genomes but is actively fundraising to complete the remaining 85. A core component of this fundraising will be the Experiment.com crowdfunding campaign that will run from February 1st – April 30th 2016. If you would like to help save one of the world’s most unique and charismatic birds as well as playing a part in sequencing the genomes of every individual in an entire species please contribute to the project.

Fund this project

The Kakapo 125 Project is a collaboration between a number of government, nonprofit, iwi and commercial entities.

Kakapo 125 collaborators

All of the collaborators have played an important role in the project to-date. The following individuals have been particularly critical to the projects progression.

  • Andrew Digby, Science Advisor Kakapo/Takahe DOC – Andrew works for the Department of Conservation (DOC) in New Zealand. He is leading the Kakapo 125 Project and conceived the idea of sequencing the genomes of the entire kākāpō species.
  • Bruce Robertson, Molecular Ecologist, Otago University – Bruce’s research focuses on conservation genetics and molecular ecology. He has been working on kākāpō genetics since 1996.
  • Jason Howard, Neuroscientist, Duke University – Jason (in Erich Jarvis’s lab) and his team at Duke were the first to sequence the kākāpō genome.

Sequencing the genomes of all 125 known living kākāpō is an ambitious and exciting endeavor that will help save one of the world’s most endangered species. It will also create a rich, open access genetic dataset that will be the foundation of some compelling research in years to come. Science Exchange is proud to add the Kakapo 125 Project to its long list of impactful scientific projects facilitated and managed via its platform.

Download information about the project in a distributable, media friendly format.
Download press kit


Learn more about how Science Exchange can accelerate your research.

Sequencing the genome of the extinct moa

June 21, 2015 | Posted by Team in Scientist Profile |

The moa were the tallest birds ever to walk the face of the earth. The two largest species, Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae, reached about 3.6 m (12 ft) in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about 230 kg (510 lb).
Moa

Ka ngaro i te ngaro a te Moa – Lost, like the Moa is lost.

Science Exchange software engineer David Iorns has been fascinated by New Zealand megafauna since childhood. In collaboration with Science Exchange, Experiment.com and the Beijing Genomics Institute he’s undertaking an attempt to sequence the moa genome.

Sequencing the moa genome is a challenging endeavor due the degraded nature of ancient DNA and the large genetic divergence of the moa. Large genetic divergence means the reference genomes required to assemble the target genome are substantially less useful than species with very similar living relatives.

Despite these technical challenges David is optimistic the sequencing attempt will result in the creation of an imperfect yet very useful moa genome. This genome will help to clarify ratite evolution and may even form the foundation of a future attempt at species revival as the science of genetic rescue and de-extinction continues to progress.

The sequencing attempt is being primarily funded via an Experiment.com crowd-sourcing campaign. Please help us to make a meaningful scientific contribution by donating to the project.

All contributions made between Monday 22nd of June 8am PST and Tuesday 23rd of June 8am PST will be matched dollar for dollar by Experiment.com!

Fund this project

Science Exchange Stories: Eli Skipp, science meets art

April 2, 2014 | Posted by Tess Mayall in Scientist Profile |

Eli Skipp is one of the most unique users we’ve had. She is an artist who finds fun and interesting ways to integrate technology and science into her art. She successfully used Kickstarter to raise money to get her brother’s RNA sequenced using Science Exchange. Now she is loom weaving the sequence into a colorful, physical representation of her brother’s bases.

I talked to her recently about her insight into art and science. Check out her original Kickstarter video and read about her unique perspective on art and science below!

Read the rest of this entry »

Crowdfunding as the future of science funding?

May 27, 2012 | Posted by Anthony in Outsourcing Trends |

Academic labs face increasingly tight budgets within a down economy.  Myself being an open notebook scientist at the University of New Mexico, funding has been particularly difficult to come by, without much support from larger grants or agencies.

Searching for alternatives, I have increasingly turned to online platforms for raising support and engagement for my research instead. Crowdfunding platforms have been of particular help, providing a medium to raise financing for scientific projects in a manner similar to Kickstarter. RocketHub’s #SciFundChallenge was the first crowdfunding initiative to support science projects, with newer science platforms like Petridish.org emerging as well.

And while crowdfunding may not be the be-all and end-all for scientific funding, I have found it to carry some extremely valuable facets over traditional funding.

For one, it provides students in the lab a chance to fund their own research. As it’s generally said that there are two big rewards in science, namely positive results and money, crowdfunding provides a medium to achieve both simultaneously. You get to see your scientific influence in real-time through small (or large) donations from the public, and witness money be contributed to something that you have created in a meaningful way.

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Guest post: Funding new discoveries with Petridish.org!

March 25, 2012 | Posted by Guest in Innovation Highlight |

This is a guest post by Matt Salzberg, Founder of Petridish.org (full bio below).

If you’re a scientist, you know that funding is becoming harder and harder to find. Traditional sources of funding, such as grants from the National Science Foundation or the National Institute of Health are time intensive, restrictive and slow.  And application success rates have fallen.

That’s why we created Petridish.org – a new tool to help scientists fund worthy projects in need. Petridish is an online community of scientists and everyday science-lovers that allows researchers to connect with private donors interested in their work.

In other fields like art, film, charity and microfinance, we have seen this method of fundraising, known as “crowdfunding,” drive a revolution in the way projects are funded.  Enabled by the mass reach of the internet, projects in these fields have raised hundreds of millions of dollars by pooling the contributions of many to make a large impact. Many of the most notable examples in other fields are sites such as Kiva.org, Donorschoose.org and Kickstarter.com.  In fact, most recently, Kickstarter made headlines when one video game project on their site raised over $2 million from the “crowd.”

So why shouldn’t scientists have a dedicated community too?  The goal of Petridish.org is to provide a platform and community where scientists can promote research, educate and engage the public, and raise money all at once.  Meanwhile, science enthusiasts can donate to projects and be a part of exciting new discoveries.

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