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.

  • Genetic Variation for Life History Sensitivity to Seasonal Warming in Arabidopsis thaliana.
    Li Y, Cheng R, Spokas KA, Palmer AA, Borevitz JO.
    Genetics. 2014 Feb;196(2):569-77.
  • Li Y, Huang Y, Bergelson J, Nordborg M, Borevitz JO. Association mapping of
    local climate-sensitive quantitative trait loci in Arabidopsis thaliana. Proc
    Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Dec 7;107(49):21199-204. Epub 2010 Nov 15. PubMed PMID:
    21078970; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3000268.