A new national database on geo-referenced genetic diversity in populations of wild species
Background: Genetic diversity is an integral part of biodiversity, recognized as key for population persistence in and adaptation to changing environments and extreme events. The global Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) requires countries to assess and monitor, and eventually halt the loss of genetic diversity. However, there is no systematic collection of Swiss data tailored to the specific needs of Swiss stakeholders to support this process.
Aim: The project GenDiB sets out to evaluate the needs and feasibility of a new national database on geo-referenced genetic diversity data in populations of wild species across Switzerland (Phase 1). A follow-up Phase 2 of the project, during which a database prototype will be developed, has started in June 2023 thanks to the co-financing of BAFU.
The concept developed as part of the project will provide the basis for a national database for hosting geo-referenced datasets of within-population genetic data. Such a database can provide a baseline for evaluating spatial patterns of intraspecific genetic diversity across a broad range of taxa, detect populations and areas of conservation concern, and allow for the assessment of temporal changes or effects of extremes. Such information will help improve and develop conservation measures. Additionally, these data can be accessed for teaching purposes.
Current developments: Currently, we are conducting a literature search to compile existing datasets of genetic diversity in natural populations in Switzerland. In parallel, we are surveying researchers to try to make previously unpublished datasets accessible (e.g. BSc, MSc, PhD theses).
We kindly ask those holding such data to contact us directly and share this information with interested colleagues.
Datasets that meet the following criteria are suitable for our study:
- georeferenced, natural populations of eukaryotic species in Switzerland.
- one of the following types of marker polymorphisms (from nuclear or organellar genomes): microsatellites (SSRs), amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs), single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; Sanger and next-generation sequencing, SNP genotyping), structural polymorphisms, transposable elements (TEs), copy number variants (CNVs), and similar markers.
After compilation, the collected genetic data will be grouped according to species and displayed in an interactive map. This map is freely available via our project page and will contain links to the data and articles.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us.
Reference: Buser C, Mosimann M, Iosifescu-Enescu I, Woodcock S, Gugerli F 2023. Nutzen einer nationalen Datenbank zur innerartlichen genetischen Vielfalt für die Naturschutzpraxis. N & L inside 2/23: 33–40.