Pogona vitticepsGenomics is currently undergoing a revolution brought about by the advent of high-throughput parallel sequencing and powerful cytogenetic techniques such as fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH) and comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). This has opened new opportunities to study non-model organisms, such as reptiles and amphibians, in ways that were previously restricted to human and mouse.

Of special interest to our lab is the comparative genomics of sex determination in reptiles. Sex determination has been a topic of speculation and rigorous inquiry since the time of Aristotle, and remains a hot topic today because of its intrinsic interest as a fundamental biological process, and because greater understanding brings benefits for human health. The Reptile Genomics Team at the University of Canberra is using frontier DNA technologies to probe the astonishingly diverse mechanisms of sex determination in reptiles.


As part of this research, we have collaborated with the Beijing Genome Institute (BGI, Shenzhen) to generate an annotated genome for the Australian central bearded dragon Pogona vitticeps. The annotated genome is complete, published in GigaScience, and availalbe via GigaDB. Physical mapping of the genome is nearing completion. The resource includes a series of transcriptomes from a range of tissues.


Other projects drawing upon the Pogona genome include using it to identify MHC gene diversity in the tawny dragon (Flinders University), in studies of voltage-gated sodium channel evolution in lizards (Virginia Polytechnic Institute), to develop constructs to better understand reptilian cortex function (Laurent Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research).



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