Bilby Genome Project

Bilbies are culturally important to Aboriginal Australians. Although its common name is derived from the Yuwaalayaay word, Bilba; we are working with the Kiwirrkurra Community and so use their name Ninu for the Greater bilby. Together with other members of Team Bilby, we have generated a chromosome-length assembly and have a suite of 13 tissues transcriptomes. Using our resequenced genomes we have compared temperate dwelling ninu to arid dwelling ninu, and have data from the extinct yallara (lesser bilby). Through this project we are able to investigate the genetic basis of the chorioallontoic placenta, taste receptors and genes associated with metabolism in this omnivorous, arid marsupial. Working closely with the National Recovery Team Metapopulation Committee we have generated genetic resources for all ninu behind fences or on islands, directly informing management translocations. Using scat samples in partnership with the Kiwirrkurra Community Rangers, we are investigating their ninu populations in the Pilbara region and providing answers to their management questions.

Bilby by Yuanyuan Cheng