The National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation is a state-of-the art facility for advanced research providing expertise in DNA sequencing and environmental and forensic DNA sampling. The Center is designed for cross-agency partnerships to provide cost-effective and reliable genetic and genomic data for species monitoring.
The Genomics Center has its roots in the genetics laboratory managed by the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station on the University of Montana campus in Missoula. Scientists conduct research at the genetics laboratory with a focus on delivering science that addresses the needs of land managers. Founded in 1998, the laboratory has grown into a national resource for states, tribes, universities, and private groups that need answers to pressing wildlife management questions for more than 60 species, including wolverines, lynx, and sage grouse.
The Genomics Center provides advanced methods for species monitoring in the following four main categories:
eDNA: Environmental DNA can be collected from bodies of water and offers great potential for monitoring and detecting species of interest.
Non-Invasive Genetic Sampling: This sampling technique uses forensic-style DNA samples, such as hair and feathers, for a more efficient method to monitor rare and sensitive species.
Genomics: Genomics allows the biology of wildlife populations to be explored in great detail, through cutting-edge DNA sequencing technologies.
Species Profiles: Work on more than 60 species to create a better understanding of the animals biology and movements in an ecosystem.
Forest Service partners from other agencies, industry, nongovernmental organizations, tribes, and states need timely and usable information on wildlife and fish populations to make informed decisions on natural resource policy and management.
The Genomics Center was developed with the recognition that synergy could be gained by multiple agencies working together to tackle natural resource problems with genomic information. While each agency has different mandates, there are times when similar information can be collected jointly and expertise can be shared, leading to better management decisions.
Agencies interested in becoming partners with the center can contact the Center Director.