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A Genome for Seabert

In Partnership with Revive & Restore

Welcome to the next round of the Revive & Restore and Dovetail Genomics® A Genome For (AG4) program.  This new fundraising program will enable the sequencing and assembly of the Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella) genome.  Dovetail Genomics will donate $500 on behalf of every service project sold starting on February 16, 2022 until enough funds are raised to sequence and assemble the fur seal genome.  The program, named A Genome for Seabert, is part of Revive & Restore’s Wild Genomes initiative and will be an open resource made available to the research community.

Who is Seabert?

The Antarctic fur seal to be sequenced is nicknamed “Seabert.” On the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, the Antarctic fur seal was hunted to extinction for its fur. By the early 1900s, only a few hundred individuals survived. In the decades since, the population has made an astonishing comeback, only now it is again threatened by human activities. Increasing ocean temperatures and reduced food availability have driven a 45% decline in the number of breeding females on South Georgia since the early 1980s.

Common Name Scientific Name Greatest Threats Range Population Size
Antarctic fur seal Arctocephalus gazella Anthropogenic climate change and declining food (Antarctic krill) availability Breeds on remote sub-Antarctic islands, with 97% of the global population concentrated around South Georgia Probably over a million individuals but declining

Funds Raised

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 Seabert’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.

Whenever the size of a population is severely reduced, the chance of inbreeding increases and genetic diversity is lost, leading to further declines and making it harder for populations to adapt to changes in their environment. The Dovetail Genomics reference genome of Seabert will allow researchers to investigate changes in the genetic diversity of the declining fur seal population at South Georgia. Doing so will give us a better understanding of how inbreeding impacts survival, growth, and other factors linked to reproductive success and ultimately population size and recovery.

How can you help?

Is your research in need of a de novo genome assembly or does the assembly you have require improvement? Starting February 16, 2022 Dovetail® will donate $500 on behalf of each service project customer until Seabert’s fundraising goal has been reached. Please click below to learn more about our service offerings and to request a quote.

The fur seal is a very intelligent species known to form social bonds and interact with humans.

A pup (baby fur seal) can expect to live for ~12-18 years, though there have been fur seals that made it to 25 years.

Fur seals can dive as deep as 800 feet and swim up to 15mph.

Todd Dickinson, CEO, Cantata Bio
“All of us at Dovetail are excited to be launching the antarctic fur seal project! I am confident that a platinum-quality genome assembly will be produced, and look forward to seeing fur seal conservation improve as a result!”
Todd Dickinson, CEO, Dovetail Genomics

Ready to start your project or want to learn more?