We study the population genetics process of adaptation in natural plant populations, using state of the art techniques in a handful of model organisms. We ask questions such as, how are populations 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.
Special Project Student
Open to students
Genome wide association mapping (Undergraduate, Summer scholar course, Honours, Graduate, Higher degree by research)
Investigating the genetic architecture of thermal acclimation of leaf energy metabolism using GWAS (Honours, Masters coursework, Higher degree by research)
Landscape genomics (Undergraduate, Summer scholar course, Honours, Graduate, Higher degree by research)
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)