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Software to protect the world's most endangered species

As the planet becomes warmer and as biodiversity decreases, evolutionary biologists are pursuing two parallel aims: they want to cryopreserve the DNA of species threatened with extinction and identify the environments in which a species is most likely to survive in a given climate scenario. At EPFL, researchers in the Laboratory of Geographic Information Systems (LASIG) have developed a software to assist evolutionary biologists and to help them make the right decisions. By providing them with simultaneous and direct access to bioinformatics databases featuring automatic genome annotations and to climate databases, it saves them weeks of work. Climate databases contain information about precipitation, wind, sunlight and cloud cover in a given region. The software, named R.Sambada, assesses the relationship between the genetic and environmental information and generates graphs and maps that allow researchers to visualize the data rapidly. The software was unveiled in a paper published in Molecular Ecology Resources.