The Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy's Crop and Biofactory Plant Genomics Program sequences, edits and studies the genomes, and epigenomes, of a wide range of plant species including those of crops, biofactory variants and model plants.
The continued improvement of sustainable crops becomes even more critical as the world's population grows, new crop diseases emerge, and climate change creates harsher conditions.
The genes of a crop plant determine its growth, development, survival and quality. Classical plant breeding and cutting-edge molecular genetics have produced higher-yielding, better-tasting and more resilient crops.
Our program advances plant genome editing, understanding of gene and genome harmony, and incorporates discoveries into new plant breeding techniques. We generate high quality, chromosome-level genome assemblies to guide the program’s research and that of others around the world using plant biofactories to develop vaccines and therapeutics, and increase crop resistance against drought and diseases.
We conduct genomic and genetic investigations to understand the pathways that enable tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress, and to develop technologies for rapidly introducing these genes and pathways into crops using next generation breeding (NGB).
Our team has developed an open access chromosome-level assembly of N. Benthamiana, made available ahead of publication to research groups worldwide for use in molecular pharming projects aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.
Improving food crops
Using next generation breeding (NGB) we're developing new cultivars to maintain or enhance levels of nutritional components within key food groups as part of a Horticulture Innovation Australia project.
We’re increasing the potential of pulse legumes like chickpeas, mungbeans and pigeon peas using molecular breeding, transgenic and genome editing technologies as part of industry-funded Advance Queensland research projects.
Through Australian Research Council and Joint BioEnergy Institute funded projects we’re studying plants, such as the native Australian Nicotiana benthamiana and ‘resurrection plant’ Tripogon loliiformis, to understand natural plant adaptation to harsh environments and to transfer these traits to crops.
Plant pest and disease resistance
We’re improving plant resistance to pests and diseases through an industry funded research project examining intrinsic RNAi defence pathways in plants and insects.
Mr Zacharie Le Blanc