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Plant Genomics for Resilient Crops and Sustainable Agriculture

What We Do 

Welcome to the Batley Lab, where we're pioneering groundbreaking research in genetics and genomics to revolutionise agriculture. Our team is dedicated to unravelling the complexities of plant genomes and leveraging this knowledge to develop innovative solutions for crop improvement and protection.


Through our ARC-funded project, we're at the forefront of pangenome research, recognising that a single reference genome can't capture a species' full diversity. We're unveiling the structural and sequence variations crucial for understanding resistance gene diversity by constructing pangenomes for various Brassicaceae species. Our work sheds light on the evolutionary processes underlying resistance gene evolution, from wild species to cultivated varieties, informing breeding strategies for enhanced crop resilience.


We're harnessing the vast wealth of plant genome sequences to develop a population graph database in collaboration with the Centre for Applied Bioinformatics, led by Professor Dave Edwards. This database serves as a comprehensive repository for diverse crop genomes, enabling us to characterise gene diversity on an unprecedented scale. Our focus on key agronomic traits, including disease resistance and flowering time, promises to accelerate crop improvement efforts worldwide.


Our partnership with the University of Melbourne in GRDC-funded projects is driving forward our understanding of the canola-blackleg interaction, a critical aspect of canola production globally. By unravelling the genetic intricacies of blackleg resistance, we're uncovering novel sources of resistance genes essential for protecting canola crops. Through genome sequencing of both the pathogen and the host, we've already identified promising resistance genes like Rlm4 and Rlm7, with ongoing validation of additional candidates underway. Our quest for novel resistance sources aims to arm breeders with the tools needed to develop resilient canola varieties capable of withstanding blackleg infestations.


Our innovative approach to combatting insect pests through plant sterol metabolism modification is poised to revolutionise crop protection strategies. By targeting insects' unique cholesterol synthesis pathway, we're developing biotechnological solutions to disrupt their growth and development. This pioneering strategy holds promise for reducing global crop losses caused by insect damage, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional pest control methods.


At the Batley Lab, we're driven by a passion for scientific discovery and a commitment to addressing pressing challenges in agriculture. Join us in our quest to unlock the potential of genetics and genomics for a more resilient and sustainable future in farming.

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