ID: 613 / 69

Category: Symposia

Track: Pending


Abstract: This symposium will bring together experts and findings summarising the current status of large-scale reference genome generation for plants, and provide a forum to showcase and discuss the practicalities of production and the biological insights that arise from the generation of novel datasets of genomic variation in plants. The diversity, size and complexity of plant genomes has presented a substantial barrier to large-scale generation of reference quality plant genomes. However, major breakthroughs are being achieved by collaborative comparative genomic projects such as the 10KP project – aiming to sequence all major clades of plants, and the Darwin Tree of Life project, aiming to produce reference genomes at the level of an entire flora. Previously intractable problems such as sequencing extremely large plant genomes are now being tackled and overcome, with a recent notable milestone being the sequencing of the largest plant genome to-date: the 90 Gbp + genome of the mistletoe Viscum album (30 x the size of the human genome). Advances in these and other related project include developing sampling workflows and meta-data standards, developing protocols for high-molecular weight DNA extraction from diverse tissue sources, developing and refining sequencing protocols and assembly pipelines to produce high quality reference genomes, and an emerging set of analyses and findings utilising this new set of genomic resources to enhance understanding of plant ecology and evolution. The symposium will provide an overview of the landscape of reference genome sequencing for plants, and include presentations from the Darwin Tree of Life and 10KP projects, and an overview of the scientific insights and future potential opportunities arising from the production of these new large-scale plant genomic resources.

Speaker 1: Dr Alex Twyford University of Edinburgh, UK Sequencing reference genomes from an entire flora: The Darwin Tree of Life Project

Speaker 2: Prof Pamela Soltis Florida Museum of Natural History, USA The benefits and value of large scale reference genome generation in plants

Speaker 3: Prof Gane Wong University of Alberta, Canada and BGI-Shenzen, China 10KP: sequencing of phylogenetically diverse species and initial discoveries in the early evolution of land plants

Topics (Up to three): Comparative Genomics / Transcriptomics

Topic 2: Phylogenetics and Phylogenomics

Topic 3: Systematics

Justification: Understanding variation at the genomic level from reference-quality genomes can provide transformative insights into plant diversity and function. This symposium is designed to capture this emerging wave of activity and provide a nexus for information sharing and guiding future direction. It is extremely timely given recent advances in sequencing strategies and bioinformatic pipelines, and the step change in the generation of reference-quality genomes from large-scale multi-partner projects such as the Darwin Tree of Life and 10KP. Given these developments, we envisage there will be considerable interest in the symposium, with the opportunity for many novel findings being presented and discussed.