Justin Borevitz



Justin Borevitz obtained his PhD in 2002 from the University of California at San Diego with Joanne Chory studying Natural Variation in Arabidopsis light response. He performed postdoctoral research with Joseph Ecker (2002-2004) at the Salk Institute studying genomic diversity in Arabidopsis using tiling arrays. From 2004 until 2012 he was an Assistant and Associate Professor in the Dept of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. In 2012 he moved to the Australian National University and became full Professor in 2014. Research focuses on Genome Wide Association Studies of growth and developmental traits under simulated climates in plant models Arabidopsis and Brachypodium. Landscape genomics is being used in crops and Eucalyptus foundation species. The goal is to identify the genetic basis of climate adaptation to predict and select adaptive genotypes for changing and challenging growing conditions.


Research interests

We study the population genetic process of migration and adaptation in plant populations using next generation sequencing. We ask questions such as, what is the size and relatedness of populations and how are they shaped by their local environment? What traits are under selection? What are the genetic loci underlying these traits? Are alleles at these loci filtered by environmental gradients on the landscape over and above background genomic differentiation? Ultimately alleles at adaptive loci in foundation species may have an extended phenotype and determine ecosystem properties and services?

High throughput genome sequencing allows us to use Genome Wide Association Studies to determine the causative alleles and fine patterns population structure associated with adaptive trait variation. It also allows Landscape Genomic studies to determine the spatial and temporal variation of alleles at adaptive and neutral loci across environmental gradients.

Another critical tool is high resolution phenotyping by insitu imaging. These Phenomic studies are being performed on mapping populations in climate chambers to quantify growth (photosynthesis), development (photomorphogenesis), and reproduction (fitness) in real time throughout the growing season.


Selected publications

Grabowski PP, Morris GP, Casler MD, Borevitz JO. Population genomic variation reveals roles of history, adaptation and ploidy in switchgrass. Mol Ecol. 2014 Jun  (online)

Brown TB, Cheng R, Sirault XR, Rungrat T, Murray KD, Trtilek M, Furbank RT, Badger M, Pogson BJ, Borevitz JO. TraitCapture: genomic and environment modelling of plant phenomic data. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2014 Apr (online)

Li Y, Cheng R, Spokas KA, Palmer AA, Borevitz JO. Genetic Variation for Life History Sensitivity to Seasonal Warming in Arabidopsis thaliana. Genetics. Feb 2014 (online)

Xu Zhang, Ron Hauss, Justin Borevitz. Natural Genetic Variation for Growth and Development Revealed by High-Throughput Phenotyping in Arabidopsis thaliana (G3 genetics Jan 2012) (Online)

Benjamin Brachi, Geoff Morris, Justin Borevitz. Genome Wide Association Studies in Plants: The missing heritability is in the field. Genome Biology, Oct 28, 2011. (online)

Li Y, Huang Y, Bergelson J, Nordborg M, Borevitz JO. Association Mapping of Local Climate Sensitive QTL in Arabidopsis thaliana. PNAS, Nov 15, 2010. (Online)

All publications

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