Scientists from the University of Western Australia's (UWA) DNA Zoo have mapped the world's first chromosome-length genome for WA's fauna emblem - the numbat - thanks to a blood sample provided at Perth Zoo.
This world-first research unlocks vital and previously unknown DNA information on the numbat, which marks a significant milestone in the conservation efforts of the much-loved marsupial.
The genome map will enable scientists and conservationists to make better informed decisions about how to safeguard the species into the future. Numbats are classified as endangered, with fewer than 1,000 estimated to be remaining in the wild.
The DNA Zoo is an initiative that is leading the world in mapping animal DNA and then making the information freely available for scientific and conservation purposes.
DNA Zoo Australia at UWA is the lead Australian node for the global project. DNA Zoo has identified more than 100 species at Perth Zoo for sampling, with a priority focus on WA's endangered native mammals.
Perth Zoo is the only zoological institution in the world to breed numbats and since 1993, more than 220 have been bred at the Zoo - and released into the wild.
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Reece Whitby:
"The mapping of the numbat genome is a wonderful scientific achievement which will play a crucial role in our conservation efforts.
"Western Australia is a biodiversity hotspot with some of the most unique wildlife in the world. This wildlife needs to be understood and protected, and the partnership between Perth Zoo and DNA Zoo will help to achieve this.
"A big thank you to everyone involved and I look forward to seeing more exciting results."