Borevitz Group - Plant genomics for climate adaption

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. 

The Borevitz lab studies the genetic basis of adaptation in natural plant populations, spanning model organisms, foundation species and emerging crops. We develop and use Genomic and Phenomic tools for association studies in controlled climate chambers and on the landscape. Population genomics is used to map adaptive alleles and genetic structure. Phenomics is used to capture growth, development, and yield traits throughout the growing season. These studies connect genotype to phenotype and environment with the aim to better manage lands and regenerate life supporting services. Live and work in Canberra!

The Borevitz lab plays a key role in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (PEB), a cutting edge research centre focused on better understanding the way in which plants interconvert forms of chemical energy in response to environmental change. PEB’s vision is to enhance plant energy efficiency by simultaneously optimising energy capture, conversion and use in changing environments to improve the sustainable productivity of plants.

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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


PS Seminar Series: Genetic approaches to understand plant photosynthesis

Event | Fri 11 October 2019
The quantitative genetics of photosynthesis efficiency in plants is not much investigated, even though breeding for photosynthesis would be interesting to maintain or improve annual increases in crop yields.

PS Seminar Series (LEAPS Edition): Precision Regenerative Agriculture for Food, Ecosystem and Climate Security

Event | Fri 8 June 2018

Abstract - Global trends project a convergence of crisis in the next decades as demand for land exceeds planetary biocapa

PS Seminar Series: Marchantia polymorpha as a model system to investigate land plant evolution

Event | Fri 27 April 2018

Abstract - The origin of land plants (embryophytes) was one of the most important evolutionary events in the earth’s hist

PS Seminar Series: Assembly of hexaploid sweet potato genome

Event | Wed 4 April 2018

Abstract - Sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] is a globally important staple food crop, especially for sub-

PS Seminar Series - Harvesting Insights: Phenomics and IoT at Production Scale for Indoor Vertical Farming

Event | Tue 20 February 2018

Abstract - AeroFarms® operates the world’s largest indoor vertical farm just outside of New York City in Newark, New Jers

Helen Bothwell

Story | Thursday 1 August 2019
Learn more about forest ecologist Helen Bothwell.

New strategy to make plants more resilient to climate change

Story | Thursday 26 April 2018
Researchers from ANU have developed a seed-collection strategy to help make trees or even food crops more resilient to future climate change.

Steve Eichten

Story | Tuesday 16 January 2018

Research background

Tim Brown - the new Director of the ANU APPF node

Story | Thursday 13 July 2017