The Koala Genome Consortium is a group of Australian scientists co-led by the Australian Museum’s Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics and Queensland University of Technology. Consortium scientists have teamed up with Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and University of New South Wales’ Ramaciotti Centre for Gene Function Analysis and Systems Biology Initiative to determine the full genome and transcriptome sequence of the koala.

The research has been funded by the ARC Linkage Scheme, the Australian Museum Foundation and Queensland University of Technology, and Bioplatforms Australia (BPA). BPA manages a national network of scientific infrastructure and expertise in life sciences including the fields of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics. It was established by the Australian Government in 2007 to help achieve a coordinated and strategic approach to supporting research infrastructure in Australia. The project also has the assistance of resources provided at the National Computational Infrastructure Specialised Facility (NCI-SF) in Bioinformatics through the National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme supported by the Australian Government. Potential Corporate Partners are invited to contact us to find out more.

On 9th April 2013, the Consortium announced the completion of initial sequencing of the koala genome. The genome is that of a female koala from Port Macquarie (NSW) called ‘Pacific Chocolate’ who in 2012 had to be euthanized due to her severe Chlamydia infection. The complete genome and transcriptome sequences from ‘Pacific Chocolate’ will be combined with the draft genome and transcriptome sequences of ‘Birke’, a male koala euthanized at Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital (Qld) because of dog attack injuries.

This landmark achievement promises to lead to a new understanding of koala biology, transform how we study and manage them, and offer new ways to diagnose and treat the diseases affecting Australia’s iconic koala.

This website is a public resource for information about the koala genome, as well as a means of collaboration and data sharing for members of the Consortium. As the whole genome assembly and annotation progresses, through assembly and annotation workshops planned for mid and late 2013, information will be made available here.