Revive & Restore and Dovetail Genomics® have launched a new fundraising program to enable the sequencing and assembly of the Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) genome.  Dovetail Genomics will donate $500 on behalf of every service project sold starting August 9, 2021 until enough funds are raised to sequence and assemble the cardinalfish genome.  The program, named A Genome for Basuki, is part of Revive & Restore’s Wild Genomes initiative and will be an open resource made available to the research community.

Who is Basuki?

The male Banggai cardinalfish specimen that will be sequenced has been nicknamed Basuki. Basuki means to prosper or flourish; the goal of this project is to help restore the Banggai cardinalfish population back to historical levels. Banggai cardinalfish went from discovery to near extinction in a matter of a few years; their current status is endangered. The Banggai cardinalfish distribution range is extremely small – a 23km2 region of the Banggai Archipelago – and their population is in severe decline. Several local populations are either extinct or vanishing. Unlike most other coral reef fishes, Banggai cardinalfish lack a pelagic larval phase. Instead, they exhibit mouthbrooding and direct development, where juveniles remain close to their parents. This unique life history trait results in genetically distinct populations that are ecologically and evolutionarily significant, but also extremely vulnerable.

Common Name Scientific Name Greatest Threats Range Population Size
Bangaii Cardinalfish Pterapogon kauderni Collection for the aquarium trade, habitat loss, limited range, low reproductive capacity Banggai Archipelago of Indonesia, a very limited area of 23 km2 1.4 M, a 90% decline from historic levels

Funds Raised

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What needs to be done?

A high-quality reference genome assembly is an essential tool for understanding the biology of any organism. Since the genome encodes a full set of instructions for Basuki’s development and maintenance, it is critical to decode this “organism blueprint” to lay a foundation for future conservation genetics studies, such as population-scale resequencing.

The Banggai cardinalfish is threatened primarily by its very small range and declining population. Once a population size reaches a certain point, inbreeding reduces diversity, creating a feedback loop potentially ending in extinction. The life history of Banggai cardinalfish results in extreme levels of population structure, which translates into genotypes that are unique to each local population. The Dovetail Genomics reference assembly will enable genotyping of different cardinalfish populations, empowering breeding and reintroduction programs, and more.

How can you help?

Is your research in need of a de novo genome assembly or does the assembly you have require improvement? Starting August 9, 2021 Dovetail® will donate $500 on behalf of each service project customer until Basuki’s fundraising goal has been reached. Please click below to learn more about our service offerings and to request a quote.

Banggai cardinalfish have evolved a peculiar strategy, termed mouthbrooding, for hatching their eggs. The male incubates the eggs in his mouth for 3 weeks, and keeps the newly hatched juveniles there for five days. The young fish are then released and go off on their own.
“We are thrilled to be finally able to generate a genome assembly for this critically endangered fish.The genome assembly will be a critical tool that we will put to use immediately to measure population diversity, heterozygosity and other metrics that will help us in our quest to save this species.”
Giacomo Bernardi , University of California, Santa Cruz
While the species was first described in 1933, it took several decades to be re-discovered, bringing both awareness of this spectacular fish to the general public (Allen, 2000; Allen and Steene, 1995), as well as the beginning of indiscriminate and unregulated collection for the pet trade, that persists today (Vagelli, 2008).
“We are excited to roll out this new opportunity with Dovetail Genomics and expand our list of helping species in need.”
Bridget Baumgartner, Revive & Restore
Banggai cardinalfish were introduced into the pet trade in the 1990s and are popular in home aquariums. Because of their restricted range and shallow habitat, they are in danger of exploitation and over-collection.
“As our ongoing partnership with Revive and Restore continues to grow and develop, we are excited to be involved in this project. We should be able to raise the needed funds quite quickly and get the project going so the genome assembly can be delivered this year.”
Todd Dickinson, CEO, Dovetail Genomics

Ready to start your project or want to learn more?