It was because of our misuse of technology and human greed that nature was abused and slowly depleted. But we can also use that same technology to arrest nature's decline. We can't undo the damage but we can at least salvage what is left. And that's one of the primary goals of the DNA Zoo Initiative which was also recently awarded a Microsoft AI grant.
DNA Zoo is a global initiative that involves more than 55 partners in eight countries, and UWA is the leading arm in Australia that collects, sequences, and analyses animal DNA as part of the initiative.
The funds from the grant will be used by DNA Zoo to develop the concept of using scat retrieval drones (SRDs) to collect genome samples of more than 40 threatened mammals in Australia, before using Microsoft cloud computing to democratise the analysis for DNA-based species monitoring.
The collected samples through the DNA Zoo program will be open source so it can be integrated with other open source data with machine learning applied to allow researchers to look for patterns of why some animals appear to thrive to slow or reverse the decline of endangered species.
(Image credit: Microsoft)