Plant genomics

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. 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.

Our research focuses on improving and biofortifying crops including bananas and tropical pulse crops.

Improving nutrition of crops

For consumers, genomics can improve the traits of crop plants by:

  • boosting vitamin content
  • providing a better flavour
  • reducing trans-fatty acids in oils
  • reducing acid levels
  • increasing shelf-life.

Nutrient deficiencies affect people in both developed and developing countries. We're developing new cultivars to maintain or enhance levels of nutritional components within key food groups.

Making plants more robust

For producers, genomics can help lower the cost of cultivation and improve yield by reducing losses from various plant stressors such as:

  • insects
  • pathogens
  • herbicides
  • heat
  • cold
  • drought
  • salinity.

Crop yields can be drastically affected by biotic stressors such as bacterial, fungi, viral and insect infection, and abiotic stressors like drought, temperature and nutrient deficiencies.

Our work helps to make crops more resistant to disease, pests and drought using genome sequencing and re-sequencing, ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing and bioinformatics annotation pipelines.

We're investigating the resistance mechanisms of wild plants and the responsible genes to accelerate the development of crops that are more resistant to disease.

Key partners

We collaborate with other research groups around the world including World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, building on their existing global knowledge and expertise.

Lead contributors