In the course of this pilot study (April 2020-March 2023), will be tested whether it is possible to monitor genetic diversity in Switzerland for a large number of animal, plant and fungal species. To this end, a number of challenges need to be addressed, such as the development of a collection strategy, the long-term documentation and storage of samples, the sequencing of hundreds of samples from different species, and the analysis and interpretation of enormous amounts of data. The results will be used to make initial statements on the current state of genetic diversity.
Five species will be studied in the pilot study, while future monitoring will cover more species. The five selected species include animals and plants from various groups of interest in species conservation. Between 150 and 300 samples per species will be collected from all over Switzerland. The entire genome of these individuals will then be sequenced to establish a reference value for the current genetic diversity of these species. Indicators allowing conclusions to be drawn on population structure, gene flow, inbreeding, hybridisation and adaptability will be tested. In addition, old samples from scientific collections will be sequenced for two species. The aim is to analyse changes in genetic diversity over the past 100 years.
During the pilot study, the exchange with numerous stakeholders that was established during the previous feasibility study will be continued. This will allow the results to be applied in practical nature conservation.