Justin Borevitz - Photo


Research School of Biology

ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment

E: justin.borevitz {at} anu.edu.au
T: +61(0)261253068

Courses Taught

Areas of expertise

  • Genomics and Genetic Analysis
  • Phenomics – High Throughput Phenotyping
  • Adaptation, Evolution and Ecology in Plants


I obtained my PhD in 2002 from the University of California at San Diego with Joanne Chory studying Natural Variation in Arabidopsis light response. My postdoctoral research was with Joseph Ecker (2002-2004) at the Salk Institute focused on genomic diversity in Arabidopsis using tiling microarrays. I then started as assistant and associate professor in the Dept of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago (2004 until 2012). My research focused on Genome Wide Association Studies in Arabidopsis and next generation genotyping by sequencing in emerging model organisms. In 2012 I started at the ANU where current work is identifying the genetic basis of local adaptation to seasonal climates using Phenomic and Landscape Genomic approaches in plant model organisms and foundation species.

Researchs projects

Landscape Genomics – Brachy, Pelargonium, Eucalypts

Climate Adaptation – Arabidopsis, Brachy

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.


  • Climate Chambers with Image Based Phenotyping
  • Seed Collections
  • Genotyping By Sequencing
  • Genome Wide Association Mapping


Recent 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)