New Zealand Catalogue of Life Project


The NZ Catalogue of Life Project is proposed by the Genetic Rescue Foundation as a way of increasing collaboration and research on our indigenous ecosystems and species in Aotearoa/NZ.  Genomic research is proving highly valuable at identifying threats to our native species and developing effective intervention. We have identified the cost of sequencing, assembly and annotation of reference genomes as one of the major limiting steps for researchers considering these kinds of studies.  Additional issues include consistency of data across studies, data quality and accessibility and damage to limited museum specimens where the species is extinct. We believe that genomic information is a national taonga and should be openly available for researchers undertaking not-for-profit public good science.  As part of the proposed project, we are also interested in developing effective pathways for the dissemination of the resulting mātauranga to iwi and other community groups, facilitating citizen involvement and enriching our national appreciation of our environment.

Key goals

  • Develop reference quality genomes for all indigenous vertebrates - potentially breaking this down into stages.  (For example, Stage 1 terrestrial bird species, Stage 2 marine bird species, Stage 3 reptiles, etc.)

  • Advocate for and fund consistent high quality genomic sequencing for researchers already undertaking genomic analysis

  • Support data sharing and collaboration within New Zealand’s science community with respect to indigenous vertebrates.

  • Establish effective ongoing pathways for sharing new mātauranga with our communities.

  • Identify means for citizen scientists, community groups and iwi to be involved in tuhurutanga/discovery.

  • Reduce sampling of precious material such as samples from endangered species and museums.

  • Further our relationships with international non-profit initiatives such as the B10K and Vertebrate Genome Project.

  • Establish a central NZ repository for genomic data.

  • Ensure our indigenous genomic data is protected from commercial exploitation.


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