The fifth annual European Conservation Genetics Meeting (ConsGen22) is making its Scottish debut this autumn, from 30 August to 1 September. Hosted by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), The University of Edinburgh and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), it will be the first meeting of its kind in the UK.

As a hub of science and innovation, Edinburgh is an ideal setting for the event with the city-based hosts recognised as global leaders in their fields of wildlife conservation and biodiversity research. ConsGen22 will also welcome respected global speakers sharing recent developments in conservation genetics from around Europe and beyond.

Dr Kara Dicks, RZSS WildGenes researcher at Edinburgh Zoo, home to the only zoo-based conservation genetics lab in the UK, said, “Collaboration and teamwork are fundamental in conservation and being able to welcome peers from around the world to our beautiful city for ConsGen22 is wonderful.

“Our planet is facing an extinction crisis, so now more than ever, we are looking forward to hosting an in-person global event to learn and share vital information. By coming together to share our expertise and experience in designing genetic tools, we can protect species around the world and help secure a future for wildlife.”

Conservation genetics is a rapidly evolving field that is revolutionising species management and contributing to the conservation of some of the world’s most endangered wildlife.

Dr Dicks added: “When we understand the genetic diversity within a population, scientists can define what they are working with and make informed decisions on how best to protect and restore it. This critical information informs work to save both individual species and entire ecosystems.”

Historically, genetic tools and methods were restricted to relatively few species that were the subject of academic research. Now scientists, like those at RZSS, University of Edinburgh and RBGE, are ensuring they are available to conservationists working on a wide range of threatened species on the frontline of conservation around the world, from endangered antelope in Chad to the alpine blue sowthistle in the Scottish Highlands.

Professor Pete Hollingsworth, Director of Science at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, said, “Genetics and genomics are increasingly important tools in the urgent quest for the conservation of threatened species.

“As a leading centre for plant research and conservation, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has wide ranging expertise across the board from DNA sequencing in rare and intractable species to conservation horticulture supporting the restoration and reintroduction of rare Scottish species in the wild. We also understand the importance of working in partnerships to achieve greater impact for conservation.

“This European Conservation Genetics meeting provides an essential opportunity for researchers at all career stages to share their cutting-edge techniques and exciting results. It presents real scope to grow international collaborations for the successful conservation of biodiversity.”

Dr Emily Humble, Research Fellow in Conservation Genomics, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Roslin Institute, said, “This is the first time the European Conservation Genetics Meeting has happened in the UK and we're really excited to welcome everyone to the wonderful city of Edinburgh.”

Conference registration and abstract submissions are live from 26 April 2022 at with both in-person and online tickets available. More information can be found by following @ConsGen22 on Twitter.

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