Aims of the Sugar Glider

Genetics Project


There are an estimated 1 million Sugar Gliders kept domestically as pets in the USA. However this large population was almost certainly founded by a very small number of individuals.

We intend to:

  1. -Estimate severity of this bottleneck/founder effect.

  2. -Detect any genetic erosion.

  3. -Estimate the genetic diversity of US populations.

  4. -Investigate cases of potential inbreeding that concern breeders.

Genetic Health of the US Glider population

The native range of Sugar Gliders is restricted to Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. We have only anecdotal evidence that the US population originated from Indonesia, but there is contradictory evidence from fur  patterning that the population may have partly originated from the Northern Territory of Australia.

Our study will:

- Determine which subspecies of sugar glider founded the US population.

  1. -Detect and quantify historical and on-going gene flow.

Origins of the US Glider population

We intend the samples collected for the Sugar Glider Genetics Project to ultimately become part of a larger Comparative Genomics project that looks at the evolution of the genome over time. We have particular interests in:

  1. -The evolution of sex-determination systems and the Y-chromosome.

  2. -The genetic consequences of domestication.

Mammalian Comparative Genomics