Opportunities for modern genetic technologies to maintain and enhance Aotearoa New Zealand’s bioheritage

In the past few years genetic technologies springing from advances in DNA sequencing (so-called high-throughput sequencing), and/or from CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, have been proposed as being useful in bioheritage research. The potential scope for the use of these genetic technologies in bioheritage is vast, including enabling the recovery of threatened species, engineering proxies of extinct species and genetically controlling pests.

Cortaderia sp. in New Zealand: patterns of genetic variation in two widespread invasive species

Cortaderia selloana (pampas grass) and C. jubata (purple pampas grass) are both invasive in New Zealand. Cortaderia selloana is found throughout most of the country, whereas C. jubata is restricted to the North Island and the northern South Island. We examine the genetic variation present in each of the species, and compare this to the findings of an earlier study that analysed the variation in invasive C. jubata plants from New Zealand.

Where did the rats of Big South Cape Island come from?

The ship rat invasion of Big South Cape Island/Taukihepa in the 1960s was an ecological catastrophe that marked a turning point for the management of rodents on offshore islands of New Zealand. Despite the importance of this event in the conservation history of New Zealand, and subsequent major advances in rodent eradication and biosecurity, the source and pathway of the rat invasion of Big South Cape Island has never been identified.

Multiple paternity in wild populations of invasive Rattus species

Multiple paternity within litters has been recorded among a variety of small mammal species, including some species of rodents. Although multiple mating has been observed in wild Rattus populations, whether such mating results in litters with multiple paternities has not been established previously. For studies involving invasive species, awareness is useful of the level of genetic diversity a single pregnant invader can bring to a population.