Borevitz Group - Plant genomics for climate adaption

Borevitz group 2023

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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Could our food choices have a positive green impact?

Story | Monday 14 February 2022
Making good food choices is necessary both for ourselves and for the planet, says plant scientist Professor Justin Borevitz.

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

Gene find deepens natural selection puzzle

Story | Thursday 2 June 2016

Self-organised Complexity of Shape symposium

Story | Monday 18 April 2016
The Self-Organised Complexity of Shape Symposium on April 6 drew participants from across the ANU as well as other Australian universities 

International network to spy on trees

Story | Tuesday 12 April 2016

Going genomic - Using science to improve food security

Story | Wednesday 1 July 2015
The rapid advances in genomic sequencing have important implications for policymakers, write Justin Borevitz and John Rivers. This article was originally published on the APPS Policy Forum.