The Bioplatforms Genomics for Australian Plants (GAP) Framework Data Initiative was established in December 2018 in partnership with researchers from the Australian State and National Herbaria and Botanic Gardens. The consortium set to develop genomics resources to enhance our understanding of the evolution and conservation of the unique Australian flora in three broad areas of reference genomes, phylogenomics, and conservation genomics.


Members of the GAP consortium gathered at the Mueller Hall at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria for two days in April 2024 to celebrate the successes of the initiative over the past five years and to discuss how the data, knowledge and collaborations from the initiative can be leveraged for future activities. The GAP consortium discussed lessons learnt and how future programs can benefit from this. The meeting included keynote presentations introducing discussion topics covered in following break out groups:


  1. David Cantrill – Overview of GAP achievements
  2. Ziad Al-Bkhetan – Bioinformatics support available for the community from the Australian BioCommons
  3. Jacqueline Batley – Pangenomes in crops
  4. Kathryn Hall – Australian Reference Genome Atlas (ARGA) introduction
  5. Darren Crayn – Overview of phylogenomics achievements
  6. Margaret Byrne – Overview of conservation genomics achievements
  7. Olly Berry – Discussion of future directions and opportunities


The consortium reflected on the key outputs from the GAP Initiative so far including:

  1. Generation of 35 de novo reference genomes,
  2. A collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew resulting in a Nature publication describing the most comprehensive global flowering plant (angiosperms) tree of life to date,
  3. The building of the Australian Angiosperms Tree of Life (AAToL) which will be published this year,
  4. Generation of 4,664 phylogenomics bait capture datasets, supporting the building of the global angiosperms tree of life, the Australian Angiosperms Tree of Life and 16 distinct phylogenomics projects
  5. Resolution of 15 conservation-dependent species
  6. 11 publications supported by the GAP consortium and an additional 8 publications using GAP data
  7. Phylogenomics bioinformatics workflows and training workshops


The GAP consortium is currently preparing the consortium capstone publication and the data from the different projects within the initiative are expected to be part of peer reviewed papers shortly. We are looking forward to seeing how the outcomes and infrastructure from the GAP consortium will contribute to further enhancing our knowledge of the evolution and conservation of Australia’s unique flora.


The Genomics for Australian Plants Framework Initiative consortium is supported by funding from Bioplatforms Australia enabled by the Federal Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), the Ian Potter Foundation, Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation (Victoria), Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, CSIRO, Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Western Australia.


The GAP consortium acknowledges the provision of computing and data resources provided by the Australian BioCommons Leadership Share (ABLeS) program. This program is co-funded by Bioplatforms Australia (enabled by NCRIS), the National Computational Infrastructure and Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre.

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