The potential of genomics for restoring ecosystems and biodiversity

M. F. Breed, P. A. Harrison, C. Blyth, M. Byrne, V. Gaget, N. J. C. Gellie, S. V. C. Groom, R. Hodgson, J. G. Mills, T. A. A. Prowse, D. A. Steane and J. J. Mohr,  Nature Reviews Genetics,  20:615-628. 2019.

Billions of hectares of natural ecosystems have been degraded through human actions. The global community has agreed on targets to halt and reverse these declines, and the restoration sector faces the important but arduous task of implementing programmes to meet these objectives. Existing and emerging genomics tools offer the potential to improve the odds of achieving these targets. These tools include population genomics that can improve seed sourcing, meta-omics that can improve assessment and monitoring of restoration outcomes, and genome editing that can generate novel genotypes for restoring challenging environments. We identify barriers to adopting these tools in a restoration context and emphasize that regulatory and ethical frameworks are required to guide their use.