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We are excited to share our pub in #EvolutionaryApplications comparing relatedness estimates for pairing recommendations in critically #endangered #birds from #Aotearoa #NZ 🇳🇿. See this #SciComm 🧵 for more! #Conservation #Genomics #ConGen #ConSERTeam 1/13
Around the 🌏, #conservation breeding programmes strategically pair the least related individuals to enhance recovery. This is like #Tinder for threatened species, only more information goes into pairing than swiping ⬅️ or ➡️. See my #3MT for more! 2/13

It’s important to get the relatedness value right for pairing, because mating between close relatives can result in negative fitness consequences, like ⬇️ hatching success 🐣(see 3/13
Pairing the least related individuals also reduces the loss of genetic diversity, so the species will be more resilient to factors like new pathogens 🦠 or climate change 🌏🌊🌪️🔥🌞. 4/13
#Pedigrees, or family trees 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🌳, can be used to calculate relatedness. However, #conservation breeding programmes struggle to use this approach when pedigrees are incomplete. 5/13
#Pedigrees also assume that all founders of a population are equally unrelated, which is unlikely in populations that have experienced rapid reductions in size (population bottlenecks). 6/13
In lieu of #pedigrees, #microsatellites 🧬 can be used for relatedness to inform pairing recommendations. 🤔 of microsatellites as a handful of pieces of a HUGE #genome puzzle. But studies show a few 🧩 are not enough to precisely estimate relatedness in threatened species. 7/13
Instead, these studies suggest 1000s of genome-wide #SNPs 🧬🧬🧬 (WAY more 🧩 of the #genome) will provide this precision. No one yet has compared all of these tools 🛠️ for estimating relatedness and making pairing recommendations in critically #endangered species. 8/13
We use three approaches - #pedigrees, #microsatellites, & #SNPs from #WGS data - to compare relatedness estimates and subsequent pairing decisions in two critically #endangered #birds endemic to #Aotearoa #NZ 🇳🇿: #kakī and #kākāriki karaka. 9/13
We sampled many known families 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 because parent-offspring relatedness should = 0.5. Our findings show that #SNPs provide more precise estimates of relatedness than #microsatellites. 10/13
Our results also show that relatedness estimates and subsequent pairing recommendations using #PMx are most similar between #pedigree and #SNP based approaches. 11/13
Our combined results indicate that, in lieu of robust #pedigrees, #SNPs are an effective tool for informing pairing decisions, which provides an exciting way forward for many poorly pedigreed conservation breeding programmes worldwide. 12/13
On behalf of our coauthors, we're grateful for the support of many esp iwi (tribes) & hapū (subtribes) that are kaitiaki (guardians) for kakī & kākāriki karaka. We thank @MBIEsci @docgovtnz @UCNZ #BrianMasonTrust #MohuaTrust 4 funding. See for data access.
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